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The Harrow & The Harvest

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Editors’ Notes

The Harrow and the Harvest, Gillian Welch’s fifth release, is her most patient and pared-down to date. No drums or electric guitar here, just hushed beauty and near-telepathic interplay between her and musical partner David Rawlings. The harmonica and banjo at the beginning of “Six White Horses” sounds nearly raucous in comparison to the gorgeous understatement spread across the rest of the album. Though the mood is often melancholy, the album still feels as soothing as watching a lazy river flow. Rawlings mines the seams of Welch’s vocals and guitar chords for just the right notes to accent the melodies. Sometimes his fretboard runs are bluesy and direct, as on “Scarlet Town” or “The Way It Goes,” while elsewhere they are so subtle they float away like fog before the next line starts. Their harmonies have a similar interconnectedness. At times it’s difficult to tell where one voice ends and the other begins, and their vivid imagery, dark and poignant tales, and rich turns of phrase worm into your consciousness with elegant ease. Timeless and sublime, The Harrow & The Harvest was well worth the wait.

Customer Reviews

One Suggestion...

For those new to Gillian and David, do this: First, put on a set of headphones or those bud things, stretch out on the couch or easy chair, close your eyes and turn on the music. Second, at the end of the CD, get up and begin your quest for their earlier albums! Finally, log onto their website and check the tour schedule to see if they're coming your way, and If they are, get tickets early! The only thing better than their CDs is their live performances and how they make you feel.


I heard this album today on NPR's First Listen and it's a beautiful album. I'd heard some of the songs on live recordings and in concert because they've been kicking some of these songs, especially "Hard Times" and "The Way It Goes," for years now. The songs are well recorded and Rawlings's guitar playing is more expressive than ever.

It's been so long!

Welch/Rawlings' music calms my nerves and brings to mind a sadness that lifts my spirits. In my mind, they are the perfect duo. It took a while, but the new album is certainly worth the wait. Great lyrics, great vocals, great guitar.


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...
Full Bio