Saturday, December 27, 2003

Counting on down to New Year's Eve...

#6: Gillian WelchSoul Journey

I may have missed the boat...well, sort of...on Gillian Welch's last album, Time (the Revelator). What I mean is, I ranked it as my #9 album of 2001, but now I realize that it was clearly her best album, certainly better than her latest, Soul Journey. Nevertheless, Soul Journey is a tremendous album in its own right, and is also the record that has made me truly appreciate the subtle genius of today's best contemporary folk artist. So, maybe Time is the one that nudged me and, admittedly, should have rated higher, but Journey gets the credit as the one that has really put me over the top.

"I wanna do right but not right now", Gillian sings on the album's opener, "Look at Miss Ohio", and then she and partner David Rawlings proceed to do everything just about exactly right. The album received mild criticism for being status quo from No Depression co-editor Peter Blackstock, who still considers Time (the Revelator) the best album of the current decade (so far). Despite the fact that this effort really doesn't break any new ground, the quality of songs such as the opening track, "Wayside/Back in Time", "I Had a Real Good Mother and Father", "I Made a Lovers Prayer" and "Wrecking Ball" add up to another masterpiece from Welch and Rawlings. If you only pay attention to one artist in this particular sub-genre, this should be the one.

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