By LEISA GREENE-NELSON
Even though Gillian Welch is the billing name, she never walks onstage without her singer/songwriter partner, David Rawlings, and his 1935 Epiphone Olympic guitar.
The artists studied together at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where David’s focus was acoustic guitar and Gillian’s songwriting. They met officially at a country western band audition and eventually moved to Nashville where most of their collaborative music came to life.
Returning to Missoula on Tuesday, July 31, the duo will share their music with us where once again, we get to hear Rawling’s strong vibrato harmony along with Welch’s intense vibrato lead vocals. Their sound is almost of one breath, like they have been singing together since the beginning of Americana Folk music.
Their newer music leans toward what has recently be deemed as “downer rock”, potentially a new genre that bleeds into young and old generations of listeners with much more ease than Grunge.
Yet there continues to be sounds of bluegrass, like in the two songs that Gillian associate produced and performed on the soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou? Gillian may sing one of her more popular songs from the soundtrack, called “I’ll Fly Away,” that became a sing-along encore at her most recent show at Pabst Theater in Milwaukee.
Gillian collaborated and recorded songs with acclaimed artists such as Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Ani DiFranco, and Montana’s very own Decemberists.
Lead singer and songwriter for the Decemberists, UM grad Colin Meloy, writes of their album The Harrow and The Harvest, “Listen to this record with the lights low. Listen to it on an old radio, cradled next to your ear. This is the sound of two people, singing and playing their songs. Forget the years in between.”
Missoulians get an opportunity for an outstanding evening of listening to Gillian and David’s harmonies and watching their connection and collaboration of many years, with possible live performances of: “The Way It Goes”, “Scarlet Town,” or “Dark Turn of Mind”.
An Evening with Gillian Welch is on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at The Wilma Theater.
Doors open at 7:00 pm and the show starts at 8:00 pm. This performance is for all ages.
The seating is general admission. Tickets are $28.50 in advance or $32.00 at the door the day of show. You can purchase the tickets online at Ticketfly, by phone at 877-4-FLY-TIX, or in person at The Wilma Theater Box Office and Rockin’ Rudy’s.
Read more of Leisa’s stories about the Missoula music scene.
Call her a big city girl at heart, finding and satiating that appetite in the city of Missoula. Born in Butte and raised in Missoula, she is fascinated by people and looks for interesting characters to write about. Everyone has a story to tell, or not, but the people and places in Missoula are unique.
Moving fast in life (for that big city feel) Leisa’s passions bounce around music, theater, food, art, family, and friends that’s supported by an IV line of dark roasted coffee. Single and a recent graduate from the University of Montana with a BA in Creative Writing, she learned what it was like to be a co-ed in her 40s.
She currently works as an Office Manager at Inter-State Studio and Publishing, working on school photos and yearbooks. Her personal life and nightlife is where she discovers and creates creative non-fiction stories. She has four supportive, loving children: Dustin, Michael, Jalynn, and Mark (adopted through marriage to Dustin) who are all artistically creative in writing, theater, dance, and singing. Leisa likes to think she moves faster than they do.