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Rock/pop

Gillian Welch: The Harrow and the Harvest

The Harrow and the Harvest
    • Music
    • Sonics
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    If you’re a musician who cares passionately about the sonics of your first-ever vinyl release, what steps can you take to ensure that the record sounds as good as possible? Here’s one option: record the music to tape, buy your own cutting lathe, master directly from the original tapes, actually participate in the cutting process, and plate and press the vinyl at Quality Record Pressings. Gillian Welch and her musical partner David Rawlings took those steps, and the process, though fraught with delays and very expensive, ended up being worth it. On these duets that feature both Welch and Rawlings on guitar and vocals (with Welch singing lead), the songs resemble short stories where the singer is fully invested in the characters, and the unfiltered lyrics that cut close to the bone fit the stripped-down and intimate sound of this LP. A black noise floor allows detail and timbre to come through fully, and the delicate interplay between the guitars on what are mostly first or second takes gives the music an in-the-moment feel. Kudos to Welch and Rawlings for sticking their necks out and taking the DIY approach all the way. 

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