Stripped down and shot through with sadness, Gillian's 1998 album further asserted her as one of the most compelling new artists in Americana. The 11 Welch/Rawlings songs include Caleb Meyer; My Morphine; Honey Now; Whiskey Girl; One Morning , and more!
On her remarkable debut, Revival
, Gillian Welch sang of men and women who were intimately tied to others, even as they mourned dead children or lost homes. Hell Among the Yearlings
finds Welch in even darker territory. In this world, loss can't be assuaged by human connection because there is none: morphine junkies, dying hobos, and alienated workers stand utterly alone in a sparse landscape where hope comes, if at all, in merely surviving. For example, the woman who kills her rapist or the singer who unconvincingly declares her troubles have flown because "Winter's Come and Gone." Appropriately, Welch's stunning voice goes it alone, surrounded by little more than her own banjo and the spare old- time and country-blues guitar of partner David Rawlings. --David Cantwell