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The Harrow & the Harvest [CD]

Gillian Welch Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
Price: 14.70 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Before we go any further, before we address anything, I’d like you to forget. Maybe forget what Gillian Welch shows you’ve seen, the floorboards all sparking from the weight of these two souls, Gill and Dave, and their four collective cowboy-booted soles; maybe forget when you first heard “Orphan Girl,” that song that seemed to exist outside of time and caused ... Read more in Amazon's Gillian Welch Store

Visit Amazon's Gillian Welch Store
for 8 albums, photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

The Harrow & the Harvest + Time (The Revelator) + Soul Journey
Price For All Three: 31.45

Buy the selected items together
  • Time (The Revelator) 8.76
  • Soul Journey 7.99

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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Jun 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Warner Music / Acony
  • ASIN: B0053GAO2K
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,673 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Scarlet Town 3:400.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Dark Turn Of Mind 4:070.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. The Way It Will Be 4:470.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. The Way It Goes 4:010.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Tennessee 6:350.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Down Along The Dixie Line 4:490.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Six White Horses 3:380.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Hard Times 4:520.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Silver Dagger 3:230.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. The Way The Whole Thing Ends 6:110.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

BBC Review

Ending an eight-year recording break that set in soon after Gillian Welch's profile-boosting appearance in O Brother, Where Art thou?, The Harrow and the Harvest marks a lovely return.

Simplicity is often the hardest thing to achieve, and it's a challenge this wistful singer-songwriter has always embraced. In fact, her 2011 album revisits the austerity of the Grammy-nominated, horribly-titled Time (The Revelator) after a rare outburst of optimism and full-band arrangements on 2003's Soul Journey.

It's no bread-and-water diet, though. Welch's partner and producer David Rawlings conjures a rich soundscape with just acoustic guitars and voices, and as her fingerpicking accompanist he weaves a delicate melodic tracery through the melancholy. This is not music for listeners in a hurry; there's so much space among the notes that the silence between songs feels like part of the languid performance.

Americana has probably given too much leeway to peddlers of front-porch nostalgia, and Welch's Los Angeles background has sometimes been cited to prove her inauthenticity. Still, The Harrow & The Harvest sounds like an excellent argument for faking your way to truth and beauty.

Its world is the mythical folksong past where you'll hear a man talk to his mule, watch the cornbread crumbling, feel the wind through the pines. There's a hint of backwoods holler in Welch's keening alto, too. But this is not real traditionalism. For every "fare ye well my own true love" there's an echo of CSN&Y, or even early Elton John.

And if there's a case to be made for formulating something serious out of classic pop and old-time hokum, Welch and Rawlings make it as well as anybody. So while just a bit of drums and bass would probably have broadened the record's appeal, we must give thanks for this stubborn duo's independence of mind. After all, it's the quiet ones that get you in the end.

--Ninian Dunnett

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CD Description

Gillian Welch is an uncompromising musical renegade with four critically acclaimed albums and a Grammy Award under her belt.

Writing and performing with her longtime partner, David Rawlings, they present their haunting songs like rock and roll chamber music, with two acoustic guitars and two voices welded together. Their tunes have been covered by such American legends as Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, and Solomon Burke.

Their music defies easy categorization -- it embraces, and is in turn embraced by, the pre-eminent ambassadors of folk, bluegrass, R & B, punk, and rock and roll.

Gillian Welch's previous releases are Revival, Hell Among The Yearlings, Time (The Revelator) and Soul Journey.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
In these days when artistic lay-offs and comebacks are familiar territory, eight years between albums remains a relatively long time, and suggests an unusual level of perfectionism or writer's block, or both. 2009's Dave Rawlings' Machine album was a patchy affair showcasing the talents of Gillian Welch's long-term musical partner, although Welch herself featured heavily on the album and shared songwriting credits on a handful of the tracks. The Harrow & The Harvest is therefore the first proper offering from Gillian Welch since Soul Journey in 2003, and its title reflects that 'unpleasant place to be' as Welch describes her own struggle to write material that she felt was worthy of recording.

What is most obvious on first hearing is the pared down simplicity of the songs; banjo, harmonica and acoustic guitar being the only instrumentation, used sparingly, but with almost scientific precision. The songs themselves are rooted in the kind of dark and earthy Americana that is clearly deeply embedded in Gillian Welch's soul, despite her often cited New York origins and Californian upbringing. This is music that is stripped back to the bone with no unnecessary embellishments, neither a note nor a phrase, to stand between it and the cool unfussiness of Welch's voice. The best songs like the lovely 'Tennessee', 'Hard Times' and 'Silver Dagger' hint in their very titles at the content within, the latter employing a harmonica break of Dylanesque stature, the others subtly augmented by delicately picked guitar. While such simplicity is undoubtedly the music's avowed intent, and it truly delivers on that promise, it also lends some of the material a curious lifelessness that was missing from Gillian Welch's Revival and Hell Among The Yearlings albums.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful songs, beautiful listening 25 Aug 2011
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I loved the soundtrack (and the movie) for O Brother Where Art Thou, so I was quite delighted when I heard a radio program a couple of weeks ago reviewing this cd by Gillian Welch. It has a sound that I really enjoy - I'm not sure how you'd describe the genre - blues, folksy, acoustic? Whatever - it's low technology, musical, beautiful lyrics and wonderful music. Just wonderful singing with banjo, harmonica and guitars. The sort of cd you pop on and sing along to and never get tired of, just like the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gillian Welch - "Ten different kinds of sad" 27 Jun 2011
Format:Audio CD
This is much more than the release of an album. The last time that we properly heard from Gillian Welch was eight years ago when Lehman brothers were still in profit and Ryan Giggs was just a mere footballer. Granted she has toured extensively in that time and made appearances on "Friend of a Friend" in 2009 the album by her musical soul mate Dave Rawlings. She also had a large starring role on the Decemberists excellent "King is Dead" this year so 2011 is almost proving hyperactive for this great singer. So let us start by warmly welcoming her back and stating that the "The Harvest and the Harrow" is magnificent and well worth the long wait. Listeners will note immediately that it is an album of relative sparsity in terms of instrumentation, Rawlings presence is musically vital but never overwhelming and Welch herself has moved away from some of the playfulness on "Soul Journey" into a territory, which tends to explore the darker themes of her best album "Time (the revelator)". More than this it harks back to a heartfelt traditionalism which mines something very deep in American music.

"Scarlet town" has the Appalachian ambience of Caleb Mayer and is a great opener with Rawlings accompaniment showing the master musician at his best and a memorable chorus where Welch croons "look at that deep well, look at that dark day". Next up is "Dark turn of mind" a country blues lament that gently rolls along so slowly that you fear it might stop, but is genuinely exquisite. Three songs on the album start with the words "The Way" and the third song will excite those who have longed for the release of the live favourite "Throw me a rope" now renamed "The way it will be". It hints at Neil Young's "On the beach" and is an utter standout.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime 5 July 2011
By Melvis
Format:Audio CD
I'll keep it simple. I've always found Gillian Welch to be an artist to watch because, on a few tracks from each album she's released, there will be a moment of absolute arresting beauty that can't be ignored. Even on the tracks I've not been in love with, I have to admire her sensibility and intelligence as a songwriter. I do tend to find her a bit of a "hard sell" to newcomers to her sound on occasions - I guess that sometimes the stripped-back quality of her music that I love can alienate.

This is such a polished, lovely album. I've played it so many times in the last week since I got hold of it, and I'm someone who's partially lost the habit of listening to an album in its entirety since the shuffle laziness/pickiness kicked in. I don't feel the need to pick tracks - it works beautifully, seamlessly together, and I've not been able to honestly say that before (even with Soul Journey, which is Gillian Welch with the corners smoothed down). At the same time as being muscially smoother, The Harrow & The Harvest is lyrically more honest, brave and personal than anything I've heard from her before, which fits beautifully with the intricate arrangements.

It just works so well. If you've enjoyed any of her previous albums, I doubt you'll be disappointed with this offering. One to really savour.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Still waiting Dave.....
Bought this disc after seeing them in concert which was fantastic & got it signed afterwards.....chatting to Dave outside he said they were going to release it on vinyl and I'll... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Richard Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good price and service
Published 22 days ago by reddosuperstar
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime recording
The harmonies between Gillian Welch and David Rawlings are peerless, the guitar playing sublime, and the social contents of the lyrics are insightful.
Published 6 months ago by Steve Huntley
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't write songs like this anymore
Eight years in the writing / making, Gillian Welch's latest album is an unqualified masterpiece, and one of the best collections of original American folk and bluegrass music ever... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dean, London
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine stuff
This is a fine album of beautifully-written and executed songs. If you've not heard Gillian Welch, this would be a good intro, but is also, for me, a welcome addition. Top stuff!
Published 11 months ago by P. Holden
5.0 out of 5 stars One of their best
Hard to think of anything better from Gillian Welch. Such a rewarding recording. Still playing it after multiple listens. A classic?
Published 12 months ago by Mr. John S. Dimmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Much listened to, never tired of, a beautiful low-key album from Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. Beautiful compositions, and Rawlings' incredible guitar-playing is the perfect... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ceamaradoir
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh wow, this is brilliant
Just great. If you like country/folk female singer songwriters and meaningful lyrics combined with great intsrumentation then this is for you. If you don't then you should.
Published 12 months ago by Mr. C. Dold
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
Gillian Welch just gets better and better. This album will live beyong its time, I never tire of listening to her poignant melancholy voice highly recommended!
Published 18 months ago by GM53
5.0 out of 5 stars Every collection needs this album
An 8 year lay off before this album, but now its here it is worth every second of the wait. Beautifully crafted songs, keening vocals and a guitarist steeped in the tradition and... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Jason Baughan
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