August 5, 2011

Gillian Welch - Strathmore - August 2, 2011

Strathmore Top Tier, pre-show
Gillian Welch is a banjo wielding Aimee Mann, a California girl who sings sparse, slow songs like she was raised along the Blue Ridge Parkway and not a Pacific Coast one.  Her show on Tuesday at Strathmore was full of the same, a 90+ minute blur of that heavy deep voice fading in and out of songs from Harrow and the Harvest and some older, more beloved tunes.  It was a perfect venue for her and "musical partner" Dave Rawlings, their near-perfect harmonies and minimal arrangements filling the cavernous space; she likened it to performing inside a slice of birthday cake.

[sidenote: for more info on the couple, here's a recent WSJ article]

We only made it through the first half (two shows in a row will do that to a blogger), but standouts from the set included Hard Times (on repeat now) and Baby Clothes, both off the new album, and of particular note was the simple, quiet chemistry between Rawlings and Welch.  Even though the duo's billed "Gillian Welch," Rawlings is as big of a draw as its namesake.

The venue got just a few knocks for being pretty damn stuffy in the top tier, and a little harrowing to navigate to seats.  But from what might be the best top-and-center seats in the city, Tuesday's show was something to see.

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