It takes a lot of presence to fill up a 2,000-ish seater venue like the Peace Center, but Gillian Welch and David Rawlins, at first looking awfully lonely on the big ol’ black drop stage, managed to do just that on August 21, 2011. Gillian was touring in support of her most recent release, The Harrow and the Harvest. Two standout tracks for me were “Scarlet Town” and “Hard Times”, though overall I feel that is not as solid an addition to her cannon as her outstanding 2001 album, The Revelator.
My three favorite Gillian Welch songs are “Red Clay Halo”, “Elvis Presley Blues”, both of The Revelator and “Look at Miss Ohio” off of her Soul Journey; all excellent story songs, the types of songs that I love the most. I’m mentioning these songs because I was perched on the precarious cliffs of disappointment, when you go to an artist’s concert and they don’t play your much loved songs. I was really enjoying the show, but when Gillian and David left the stage, they’d played none of my number ones. But then, lo and behold, when she returned for the encore, she played all three of my favorite songs. Bliss!
Going to see a Gillian Welch concert is something like wrapping up in your favorite warm blanket and then curling up on the couch with your best feel good book. She does a great job of making the audience feel comfortable, includes everyone in the patter between herself and David and just generally makes you feel like she’s just up there having a great time, and is truly happy that you came.
If you have a chance, go pick up a copy of The Revelator, go to her tour page, and then go buy tickets to her next concert.