Gillian Welch : The Harrow and the Harvest

The Harrow and the Harvest is the first new album from Gillian Welch and David Rawlings since 2003, when Soul Journey was received with acclaim from critics and fans alike. Almost a decade later, they are just as strong.

It’s no surprise that Welch and Rawlings play off each other’s strengths; her eerily haunting vocals and his subtle back-up vocals weave a velvet tapestry of loss and redemption in an all-acoustic, 10-song, 50-minute album, all written and performed by the duo.

Recorded at Woodland Sound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, the pair capture the pain of loss, leaving home and rural life in the true spirit of Americana music.  For example, “Way Down in Dixie Line” is a song about trying to leave the past behind, but feeling loss doing so. “They pulled up the tracks now, I can’t go back now,” Welch sings. Can’t hardly keep from cryin’, oh do they miss me way down in Dixie.” It’s a simple song with universal appeal: leaving home to seek a new life, but burdened with as much loss as gain.

It’s there in simple lyrics and the acoustic sounds of the album where Gillian Welch and David Rawlings have somehow perfected the Americana music experience. If it takes another eight years for them to produce another album this good, it will be worth the wait.

The Harrow and the Harvest is out now on Acony Records.