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iTunes Review

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.

Customer Reviews

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.

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.

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.


Born: October 2, 1967 in New York, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
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