20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The Lighter Side of Gillian Welch....,
This review is from: Soul Journey (Audio CD)
..relatively speaking, of course. Don't worry, Gillian's trademarks of lyrical stoicism and integrity in the face of deprivation and desolation are still here and this album is every bit as special as its illustrous predecessors. The big differences here are in the the more relaxed feel of the songs. Instrumentation is less sparse than before (although still not a single note is superfluous), and the vocals have a lazy intensity to them - a nice trick if you can pull it off. All credit to Gillian for not resting on her laurels and trotting out Time(The Relelator)II. She is clearly a restless soul and the title of this album couldn't be more appropriate. The album is definitely a "grower", any initial sense of disappointment at the relative accessibility of the songs soon gives way to sheer respect for the quality of the writing and the musicianship. "Lowlands" is probably the weakest song with its fairly predictable arrangement and delivery, but it is redeemed by a huge bass riff. "One Little Song" is exquisite, "Wrecking Ball" rocks and "Make Me Down a Pallet on Your Floor" would have Mississipi John Hurt smiling his approval. Whatever Gillian does next, its going to be fascinating.