>> Saturday, August 20, 2011
****1/2 out of Five
Eight criminally long years have passed since treasured country-folk songstress Gillian Welch brought her last record, Soul Journey, into being. Whatever the reasons for this near-decade gap between albums — writer’s block, end-product unhappiness — the songs populating The Harrow & The Harvest instantly alleviate any concerns about Welch’s inability to produce quality material. Throughout this fifth proper release, Welch’s subtle, melancholy alto and alluring, honest narratives work symbiotically within songwriting partner David Rawling’s inspired and intricate acoustic guitar framework. The expansive arrangements of Soul Journey are stripped away in favour of skeletal instrumentation, and only banjos, acoustic guitars, harmonicas and percussion courtesy of hands and feet are called to action. This is a tuneful, beautiful and soulful collection from one of America’s finest purveyors of folk.
Republished with permission from Uptown Magazine