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Nashville Obsolete

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Album Review

Nashville Obsolete is the second solo outing for ace guitarist and producer David Rawlings, who for nearly two decades has shared the load with creative partner Gillian Welch to become one of folk and country music's most celebrated duos. Like 2009's Friend of a Friend, this seven-song mini-album is billed under the Dave Rawlings Machine banner and features a small ensemble that sees Rawlings and Welch swapping roles in what has become their familiar format. His reedy tenor voice that usually melts so effortlessly with Welch's takes the lead here on a set of melancholic songs that channel tones of Bob Dylan and Neil Young through the Dust Bowl filter that has become his bailiwick. With Welch and former Old Crow Medicine Show member Willie Watson supporting him on guitar and harmonies, the group also includes Punch Brothers' Paul Kowert on double bass. Beautifully captured on tape with the mix of spontaneity and professionalism expected from a Rawlings/Welch performance, Nashville Obsolete has something of a brooding grandeur to it with standouts like "Short Haired Women" and the meandering, 11-minute "The Trip" feeling bigger and deeper than the small group of players producing them. Aside from some of the added instrumental ornamentations — which are all quite tasteful — this neo-traditional country with a noir bent is familiar territory for Rawlings, and the album files pretty easily into the existing body of work he's made with Welch, regardless of which one of them is at the front mike. More uptempo songs like "The Last Pharaoh" and "Candy" keep things from becoming overly downcast and the album ends on a high note with "Pilgrim (You Can't Go Home)," a song that mixes dazzling three-part harmonies with a bit of the latent rock spirit that always seems to be buzzing at the edge of Rawlings' periphery.

Customer Reviews

Consciously Classic

On David Rawling's second album there is a consciousness that the music being recorded is going down in history along with the likes of Dylan, Neil Young and other great Americana recording artists… This album is more steady and sure of itself than Rawlings first album and, like Dylan's John Wesley Harding, comes off suggesting a time and place that extends beyond the songs on the album, though it is not as cutting as that album. One only wishes that Rawlings and Welch has a little more acid in their temperaments - a little more bite. Instead we are left lulled and warmly planted on old soil, familiar and great.

What a sound!

Very impressed with the crisp sound of this record. It's like you're listening to them play the songs right in front of you. This album, which will no doubt be a favorite, again shows that Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch are outstanding musicians and songwriters. Loving the song Pilgrim and the strings throughout. Bravo!!

Spacious...

…like this side of Dave Rawlings, Feels as if you could be sitting in a parlor or on the front porch or before a string quartet; only 7 songs, in 7 years in the making. Thoughtful lyrics,harmonies and music!

Biography

Formed: 2006 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer David Rawlings is best known for his longtime collaboration with musical partner Gillian Welch, with whom he has written and recorded a number of critically acclaimed folk and neo-traditional albums. He has also produced and collaborated with artists like Old Crow Medicine Show, Ryan Adams, Robyn Hitchcock, and Conor Oberst, among others. In 2009, he launched his solo career, releasing his debut album, Friend of a Friend, under the name Dave Rawlings Machine....
Full Bio