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4.6 out of 5 stars62
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 31 August 2011
This is every bit as good as I expected. It's been some time since their last CD and I feared they may have moved away from their original sound. But now worries - Gillian Welch still has that plaintive voice and David Rawlings hasn't lost his inventive egde. Treat yourself - you won't be sorry!
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on 5 July 2011
Like the Curate's Egg, this is good in parts. I love the sound, and the "old time" simplicity of the instrumentation. This is probably the best recorded acoustic album they've released. However, I've bought everything they have released to date, and I have to say that they are still not producing songs with any of the immediacy of the strong songs on the early albums (Annabel, Orphan Girl, Caleb Myer, etc). There are still some cracking songs on this (Hard Times and Silver Dagger are my favourites so far - like a previous reviewer, I reckon this album will need repeated listening) but I think there may be better to come. It was worth waiting 8 years for, though.
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on 14 May 2012
Whilst I'd heard Gillian Welch's name, I'd never heard her music until I purchased this album for my mum. Upon first listen, I was shocked and surprised. This is a sparse and, forgive me, harrowing album. All the songs are led by Gillian's raw and emotive voice, and backed by two acoustic guitars (the only percussion is some handclaps on Six White Horses), and whilst Welch's rhythm playing is reasonably fundamental, Dave Rawlings' lead work is outstandingly innovative. He finds notes that take his guitar solos in all sorts of crazy directions, but it never sounds downright weird. Rawlings is a master of his instrument, and Welch of hers.

In terms of the musical content, I suppose it can be loosely categorized as a kind of blues / country fusion, but there is darkness running throughout the whole record: Taylor Swift this is not. Songs often ramble for six minutes in Verse / Chorus / repeat form, but there is enough intrigue and storytelling in the lyrics for the album never to be boring for one second. Tennesse and The Way The Whole Thing Ends are perfect examples of this, whilst Scarlet Town and Six White Horses are a little more to the point. But every song here is worth its place on what amounts to a fantastic album.

As a final note, I would recommend checking out some of these songs on Youtube before you buy if you've never heard these guys before, the darkness isn't for everyone...
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on 6 May 2012
Since getting to know the Gillian Welch duo through Revival, Time (The Revelator) and this album, what I love the most is their stripping back of the parts as they progress, instead of adding layers. I like Revival, but feel like the reverb and electric touches clutter a good set of songs. Time is simply stunning, but this record exceeds it.

It is not in the songs that it is a better record, indeed, the ten on Time are also fault-free, but through the playing. The ten songs here are perfectly written, but the playing between Welch and Rawlings is amazing. Whereas on previous albums the pair work perfectly alongside each other, here Rawlings' flat picking seems to spiral and closely circle Welch's chordal guitar or banjo strumming, creating an organic whole that is hard to separate. The fact that it is only the pair on record is another strength. They have grown closer as a musical duo, it seems.

There is no point highlighting songs, because they are all wonderful and sit together forming an album, a real album, perfectly. (But, picking a favourite, The Way it is and Hard Times may have their noses in front.) This is not just my album of 2011, but my album of several years before and probably several years hence. Excellent stuff and worth an eight year hiatus.
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on 27 June 2011
Welch & Rawlings have done it again.
If you loved the last two, this will soon be a favourite.
If you didn't -- either your ears or soul are malfunctioning.
Get that checked out.

I've been waiting not-so-patiently since the last Gillian Welch album.
This makes the wait worthwhile.
I'll happily spend the next few years (not eight, please) getting to know these tunes.

Her voice, his guitar, their harmonies and these magical songs that could have been snuck out the back door of the Smithsonian.
I'm happy.
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on 17 August 2011
Gasp! At last. A return to form from Welch and Rawlings. Those dark musings from Gillian's world do indeed superceed any ego-bloated rock-star lifestyle that could have crowded out the creativity from alt-country's greatest story-song writer. Revelator II ? Indeedy-do! That said, the arrangements are more subdued than the 2001 masterpiece. However, this only adds to the unlit log cabin effect, with the mouse catching your eye as it scuttles from corner to corner. This album will inhabit you, and occupy a special place in your collection. For those of you who have the first three GW's, just buy it. If you started with Soul Journey, do yourself a favour and buy it.
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on 11 August 2011
As a fan of Gillian Welch - I was not disappointed with this latest outting and it could well serve for someone new to her music as a starting point. Lots of pines, railways and sorrow are true to her blue grass roots with a twist. Her pure voice is complimented by her partners guitar - and although sounding sweet she has a darker side that gives her a depth few artists reveal as well as her. If you like American folk, blue grass or just good music - buy it for your collection.
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on 4 August 2011
This is a truly great album. The songs are really well constructed - they seem like traditional songs in many ways - and beautifully performed. Welch and Rawlings blend together voices and instruments seamlessly - Rawlings is one of the finest guitar players around and Welch's voice is clear and kind of haunting. I don't think there's one bum note on this album.

Brilliant.
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on 5 September 2011
......I love Gillian Welch and this is the best Gillian Welch album by far.

I have no sense of rhythm and yet this gets me dancing......

This is totally stunning and magical.

The final track is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard in my life.

I repeat - I can't stand country music but this is sublime.

Jesse.
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on 29 June 2011
Iam not going to eulogise. Let's be honest, if you love Beyonce, you are probably not going to like this. However, if you like blues, bluegrass and a bit country you absolutely cannot do better. Brilliant almost scary voice and nothing for effect. Just emotion. Buy it now. PS I am not her agent!
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