Gillian Welch at Hoyt Sherman

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings appear to be traditionalists. Certainly a traditional ambience is present in everything from the pair’s stripped down instrumentation to Rawlings’ countryfied suit and cowboy hat. But the duo threw off any notion of country/folk traditionalism with their encore of “White Rabbit” at Friday night’s Hoyt Sherman Place show.

Seeing Welch and Rawlings brought a whole new context to their music for me. In person, Rawlings’ signature style of guitar playing is thrilling to hear and the pair’s harmonies were spot on, even without using on-stage monitors. Though the duo is known for their slow and even melancholy sound, there’s an energy in the way they perform seamlessly
together.

Highlights of the night included the dynamic version of “Revelator,” in which Rawlings unleashed a solo that built up, holding the listener in suspense until the song’s final verse and the harmonies on “By the Mark.” While a performance of “Tear My Stillhouse Down,” would have been the icing on the cake, the setlist, chalk full of Welch’s best, still made for a great evening of folk music.

 

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2 responses to “Gillian Welch at Hoyt Sherman

  1. To call the “mesmerizing” is clearly an understatement. You’re the guitarist, not me, but Rawlings playing left me transfixed. I couldn’t take my eyes off his fretwork. I flew out the day after the performance, but will try to catch their Prairie Home Companion performance (they went to St. Paul the next day) when I get home this weekend.

    • Unfortunately I sat on the side of the auditorium where I couldn’t see Rawlings play, but yes, his fretwork is simply incredible. The thing that amazes me about him is he’s come up with an extremely original style of playing that is so unique and so fitting for their music.

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