10 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Released in 1996, Revival is Gillian Welch’s graceful and self-assured debut. Her devotion to bluegrass and old-time American music is evident across the album and she pays homage to the form not through studied mimicry but by adding her own work to the tradition. One could easily mistake “Orphan Girl,” “Barroom Girls,” and “By the Mark” for traditional Appalachian tunes, which is a compliment to her vivid lyrics, storytelling skill, and the depth of these vocal performances. Her clear, haunting voice conveys a range of emotions, from tender and fragile on “Orphan Girl,” “Only One and Only,” and “Paper Wings,” to tough and defiant on “Pass You By” and “Tear My Stillhouse Down.” Joined by her songwriting partner David Rawlings, a highly skilled guitarist who adds intricate and evocative melody lines throughout along with excellent vocal harmonies, most of the songs feature spare arrangements and just two acoustic guitars. Some well-placed electric guitar (courtesy of the legendary James Burton), bass, and drums are used to powerful effect on a few tracks as well. Unhurried and timeless, Revival is a powerful statement beautifully presented.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Released in 1996, Revival is Gillian Welch’s graceful and self-assured debut. Her devotion to bluegrass and old-time American music is evident across the album and she pays homage to the form not through studied mimicry but by adding her own work to the tradition. One could easily mistake “Orphan Girl,” “Barroom Girls,” and “By the Mark” for traditional Appalachian tunes, which is a compliment to her vivid lyrics, storytelling skill, and the depth of these vocal performances. Her clear, haunting voice conveys a range of emotions, from tender and fragile on “Orphan Girl,” “Only One and Only,” and “Paper Wings,” to tough and defiant on “Pass You By” and “Tear My Stillhouse Down.” Joined by her songwriting partner David Rawlings, a highly skilled guitarist who adds intricate and evocative melody lines throughout along with excellent vocal harmonies, most of the songs feature spare arrangements and just two acoustic guitars. Some well-placed electric guitar (courtesy of the legendary James Burton), bass, and drums are used to powerful effect on a few tracks as well. Unhurried and timeless, Revival is a powerful statement beautifully presented.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
123 Ratings
123 Ratings
billieyoung ,

Great Work from a Great Singer-Songwriter

Gillian Welch's first album showcases her incredible songwriting abilities. "Orphan Girl," "Annabelle," and "By the Mark" sound like they were written by the Carter Family. Welch does not only rely on old-timey bluegrass influence; "Paper Wings" sounds jazzy and "Tear My Stillhouse Down" has a drum beat. David Rawlings's excellent guitar skills adds to the songs.

debarro ,

wow. instant best fan.

just saw gillian welch and david rawlings open for bright eyes. this is the kind of music that has always been in my subconcious, but i had settled for bluegrass. this isn't just bluegrass. this a pure form of music. these two play, write, and perform in such a way, that if any artist of any genre had the same purity and attitude toward their art, it would move you, whether you were inclined to that genre or not.

bright eyes was better than ever too. that was a night, with only the stimulus of music, that made me happy to be alive. the way it must have bee to see some of the greastest artists from before my time.

mkala ,

Beauty at it's finest

This album has all the qualities of brilliance. Gillian and David sing so beautifully together. Annabelle is one of my favorite Gillian Welch songs but she has so many that it's hard to rank. Her voice is deep with emotion and her words make you feel like you've found home.

About Gillian Welch

Gillian Welch first appeared on the folk scene as a young singer/songwriter armed with a voice and sensibility far beyond her years, earning widespread acclaim for her deft, evocative resurrection of the musical styles most commonly associated with rural Appalachia of the early 20th century. Welch was born in 1967 in Manhattan and grew up in West Los Angeles, where her parents wrote material for the comedy program The Carol Burnett Show. It was as a child that she became fascinated by bluegrass and early country music, in particular the work of the Stanley Brothers, the Delmore Brothers, and the Carter Family.

In the early '90s, Welch attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where she began performing her own material, as well as traditional country and bluegrass songs, as part of a duo with fellow student David Rawlings. After honing their skills in local open mike showcases, the duo began performing regularly throughout the country. While opening for Peter Rowan in Nashville, they were spotted by musician and producer T-Bone Burnett, who helped Welch and Rawlings land a record deal. With Burnett producing, they cut 1996's starkly beautiful Revival, an album split between bare-bones duo performances -- some even recorded in mono to capture a bygone sound -- and more full-bodied cuts featuring legendary sessionmen like guitarist James Burton, upright bassist Roy Huskey, Jr., and drummers Buddy Harmon and Jim Keltner.

Her sophomore album, Hell Among the Yearlings, followed in 1998. The years following her second release found Welch involved in several soundtracks (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Songcatcher), tribute albums (Songs of Dwight Yoakam: Will Sing for Food, Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons), and guest spots on other artists' albums (Ryan Adams' Heartbreaker, Mark Knopfler's Sailing to Philadelphia). Following the success of O Brother, Welch and Rawlings found themselves in the center of a traditional American folk revival and released their third album, Time (The Revelator), in mid-2001. Steady touring, guest appearances, and the release of a DVD (The Revelator Collection) kept the pair busy, but in 2003 they found time to record Soul Journey, their second release on their own Acony Records label. Rawlings cut his first solo album, A Friend of Mine, though Welch sang harmony all over it. It was issued in 2009. Welch didn't release another album under her own name again until 2011, when she and Rawlings released The Harrow & The Harvest on Acony. She and Rawlings co-produced, sang, and played everything on the album, which was engineered by Matt Andrews.

Welch and Rawlings both participated in the recording of 2014's Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited, a multi-artist album that paid tribute to Cash's landmark concept album on Native American history. In 2015, Welch sat in on the sessions for the second Dave Rawlings Machine album, Nashville Obsolete. Welch and Rawlings looked back to their first album with the 2016 collection Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg, which featured unreleased outtakes, alternate versions, and demos from the making of Revival. ~ Jason Ankeny

HOMETOWN
New York, NY
BORN
October 2, 1967

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