Customer Reviews


109 Reviews
5 star:
 (92)
4 star:
 (14)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


165 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY A STUNNING DEBUT
I first saw this cd just a few days after it was released in 1996 -- the cover caught my eye and I took it into a listening booth to give it some attention, away from the cacaphony of the store sound system, which at the moment, I think, was churning out Nirvana. When I closed the door and started the disc, everything outside went away -- it had been a long time since I...
Published on June 26, 2001 by Larry L. Looney

versus
4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I thought Yearlings was better.
More to provide balance than anything else, I comment that I thought Yearlings was much better. Gillian and David are just great. This is wonderful music. I just wonder whether Yearlings will not be more accessible to some, as it is to me.
Published on September 11, 1999


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

165 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY A STUNNING DEBUT, June 26, 2001
By 
Larry L. Looney (Austin, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Revival (Audio CD)
I first saw this cd just a few days after it was released in 1996 -- the cover caught my eye and I took it into a listening booth to give it some attention, away from the cacaphony of the store sound system, which at the moment, I think, was churning out Nirvana. When I closed the door and started the disc, everything outside went away -- it had been a long time since I had discovered someone who was as talented and captivating in style as the music on this cd revealed.
Gillian Welch is not from Appalachia -- but you couldn't prove it by me that day. It was only later that I discovered this fact. Her style of songwriting, singing and playing never EVER comes across as false or contrived -- her heartfelt love of this music brings an honesty to it that is rare and refreshing in these times.
The combination of her songs and voice with the stunning abilities and sensitivity of David Rawlings (who co-wrote many of these songs) makes listening to this music a powerful, transporting experience. His guitar work is simply (and I mean 'simply') exquisite -- I can't find a song on this disc where his accompaniment isn't perfect. The lines he plays provide just the right background and fill, targeting the mood dead-on. I never get the feeling that he's showing off or posing -- he's simply trying to do everything in his power to frame these songs and Welch's voice for the audience to enjoy and appreciate. On the tracks where he sings as well, their voices blend as if they were destined to do so.
There are several standouts in this set, but every single track here is a 'keeper'. 'Orphan girl' is proably the best-known tune, being covered early on by no less an established performer than Emmylou Harris. 'Annabelle' is heartbreakingly beautiful, a mother relating the story of a child's death in the midst of an unimaginably hard life, trying to remain philosophical in the face of such tragedy: 'We cannot have all things to please us, no matter how we try -- until we've all gone to Jesus, we can only wonder why'.
The third track, 'Pass you by', simply roars with power, underscoring the story of a desperate individual entering into a life of crime, finding herself enjoying the 'rush' of taking her share from the rich man. 'Barroom girls' paints a picture of one-night stands with incredible imagery: 'Oh the night came undone like a party dress, and fell at her feet in a beautiful mess'. 'By the mark' sounds for all intents and purposes like a well-travelled traditional gospel song -- but it's another fine Welch/Rawlings composition. Their vocal blend on this song is particularly effective.
Welch sends chills up our collective spine on 'Paper wings' by channeling Patsy Cline, without for one instant sounding derivative, with another set of evocative lyrics: 'Angels were singing -- didn't you hear? If only I'd listened close when they whispered in my ear -- paper wings, paper wings, oh how could I expect to fly with only paper wings?' Welch stands in the shoes of a repentent moonshiner, advising those witnessing her final moments to 'Tear my stillhouse down', '...cause Satan he lives in my whiskey machine, and in my time of dying I know where I'm bound -- so when I die, tear my stillhouse down'.
The album ends with two of my three favorite cuts ('Paper wings' being the third). 'Acony bell' is a gorgeous paean to '...a simple flower so small and plain' that heralds the springtime in the mountains -- a symbol of hope and new life after a hard winter. 'Only one and only' speaks of that one person in the singer's life who would leave the biggest hole if they left -- and we all have one of those.
Special mention should also be made of the impressive and tasteful production talents of T-Bone Burnett. He provides just the right touch from where he sits in the recording process -- both on this release and Welch's sophomore effort HELL AMONG THE YEARLINGS (also an excellent cd).
The impressive songwriting of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings is, over time, building into a treasure-house of contemporary American acoustic music -- and if she's not from the hills of Arkansas or Kentucky or Tennesse, yet can write and sing these songs like this, more power to her. She and David have a true sense of honesty and a genuine talent for this music -- and they obviously love what they're doing.
Welch and Rawlings also put on a terrific live show -- if they come anywhere near your area, you owe it to yourself to see them. They are unpretentiously absorbed in this music, and it's a joy to behold.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The more you listen the more you'll like, February 17, 2002
By 
This review is from: Revival (Audio CD)
Simply put: You will not tire of this album. The music is anything but repetitive, and each song touches the listener in a different way. The more you hear of Welch and David Rawlings the more you appreciate their fine and carefully crafted work.
Much is made about the fact that a girl from Los Angeles has such a feel for this type of music. I believe Welch's background actually gives her music an appeal beyond bluegrass and country. Yes, it's true that you can't get any more mountain-like than "Tear my Stillhouse Down", and the beautiful "By the Mark" is too deeply religious to make any big city album. But Welch's very best on this album appeals to the sensibilities of both city and country folk: The opening track "Orphan Girl" touches the loneliness in all of us and the hope of reunion; and the painfully sad "Barroom Girls" probably fits better in L.A. than Knoxville.
I'm hoping that Welch stays true to this type of music. Her popularity is exploding as a result of "O Brother, Where Art Thou" and she's getting air time on VH-1 Country with her incredible Elvis song. Please don't let us down Gillian.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem buried in coal dust, June 12, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Revival (Audio CD)
Gillian Welch's "Revival" is the sort of album that you wish everyone--and no one--knew about. With songs of poignant clarity, vignettes that reveal neither too little nor too much, and a voice that knows how much each song needs and stops there, rather than pushing too far and spoiling the lyrics to showcase the artist, this is an album that deserves more attention than it has received--and yet, it is one where you can revel in its relative obscurity, as if you and Gillian were sharing an intimate secret, telling tales on the porch in old rocking chairs. "Revival" puts Gillian Welch in the class of such artists as Emmylou Harris and Over the Rhine's Karin Bergquist--singers who have, not coincidentally, both covered the opening track, "Orphan Girl." This is an album that should claim a special nook in your CD collection.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "O Brother" Fans, Look No Further, July 11, 2002
By 
Steven R. Seim "Steve Seim" (Beaver Dam, WI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Revival (Audio CD)
Like many fans of Gillian Welch, I was first introduced to her work through her excellent contributions to the "O Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack and the follow-up live album, "Down From the Mountain." This album is the closest "companion piece" to those blockbusters that I've heard. Like the "O Brother" albums, "Revival" is Depression-style American music (not quite country, not quite folk, not quite bluegrass) recorded with modern production values that provide a clarity and richness missing from actual Depression-era recordings. What's more, although they sound like they're at least 75 years old, the songs on "Revival" are all Gillian Welch/David Rawlings originals.
I would also note that Christian music fans ought to be singing this album's praises. Several of the songs on "Revival" contain more doctrine, moral lessons, and mentions of Jesus Christ than many so-called "Gospel" or "CCM" recordings.
"Revival" is, quite simply, an American masterpiece.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple and unbelievably sad and beautiful album, September 18, 2004
By 
moose_of_many_waters (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Revival (Audio CD)
I have no idea how a California city slicker trained at the Berklee School of Music can channel songs that sound so steeped in the Appalachians. The songs here are unbelievably good. They will be covered by others for a long, long time.

And if that wasn't good enough, the way they are sung here by Welch and Rawlings is basically as good as can possibly be done. It's as if they are joined at the hip.

OK, it would be good if once in a while, Welch could write a song that doesn't make me want to cry, but these songs are so damn graceful and well written that I forgive her for that. This album is a testimony to the creative spirit. Others have tried to do this type of retro writing and performing. But none hold a candle to Welch. This album is about as close to magic as you're going to find on record.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The World Belongs to Gillian, July 3, 2002
By 
A. Wolverton (Crofton, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Revival (Audio CD)
The world belongs to Gillian Welch if she wants it. She is an incredibly talented artist who refuses to fit into a neat little box, doing the same thing over and over again. Yes, the world belongs to Gillian...but I'll bet she doesn't want it. She'd probably settle for a small following of dedicated fans. She has no need to worry.
'Revival' seems to refer to an older time, such as the Depression era days when all you had was inner hope. There was nothing much else to hope for. Many of these songs speak to a spiritual quality. Take the opener, "Orphan Girl," a simple, yet stunningly powerful song. What hope could an orphan possibly have in this cold, cruel world? Gillian knows and she tells us.
If you insist on classifying Welch, I suppose a cross between folk and alt. country might work, but it doesn't do her justice. But don't worry about trying to put a label on her. Just enjoy the music.
Gillian Welch and partner David Rawlings have together created a tribute to and an awakening of a style of music from a simpler time. This is what the Carter Family might have sounded like had they been born 50 years later. Sure, you'll find an electric guitar here and there and even some drumming, but it's mostly two guitars and two voices, barebones music with no-holds-barred lyrics that seem to deepen with each listen. How rare. And how refreshing. Let's hope Gillian and David are around for a long, long time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars if there's a better debut out there, i haven't found it., December 3, 2002
By 
T. Cook (louisville, ky United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Revival (Audio CD)
every once in a while, when the stars are lined up just perfectly or something, there comes along an album that blows everything else out of the water. that's what this album did when it first came out. for the sheer poetry of the writing, for the incredibly incredible harmonies, for the intricacy of david rawlings's guitar playing, for the honesty of the emotions, this album has to be one of my all-time favorites. all three of gillian welch's releases are truly 5-star albums, but this one will always hold a special place in my musical heart. and, with any luck at all, or when the stars once again line up in that that magical arrangement, david rawlings just may put out something on his own. these two musicians are deserving of all the accolades they have received and more. this is one work of true inspiration and amazing beauty.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One I can't live without..., February 24, 2000
By 
This review is from: Revival (Audio CD)
I walked into a record store one day and heard the first few songs off of Revival over the store speakers and they stopped me in my tracks. I immediately bought it (and I'm not the impulsive type) and my husband and I played it just about every morning for the first month we owned it. Gillian and David have somehow managed to channel the ghosts of Appalachian oldtimers through their souls and onto this disc. This music is as real and haunting as it gets. I can't say enough about it, it just gets under your skin and stays there. If you ever get a chance to see them live, you'll understand how incredibly gifted they are. If you like alt country or twangy folk, this is a must have!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, what I've been missing!, January 14, 2002
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Revival (Audio CD)
I've been away from the country scene for a while, but the "Oh, Brother! Where Art Thou?" phenomenon brought me back to country and, particularly, bluegrass. From the movie soundtrack, it was a short hop to Gillian Welch's albums, and boy, am I glad I made the leap! This album combines the heart-wrenching sound of the "way back the holler" nightingale (think Dolly Parton at her bluegrass best) with the sophisticated blues/rhythm of New Orleans (think k.d. lang at her most hauntingly sorrowful). Gillian Welch and her co-writer/back-up singer Dave Rawlings twist the gut and turn the head with gospel influenced ballads like "Orphan Girl" as well as deep blues rockers like "Pass You By." This goes so far beyond "Hill-billy" music that they must not have a name for it yet. Buy it. Buy them all.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best music I have heard in a long, long time.., September 12, 1998
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Revival (Audio CD)
I first came to listen to Gillian Welsh because I wanted to hear her own rendition of 'Orphan Girl', as she is the writer, after I heard Emmy Lou Harris cover it. I must say, I became entranced by the entire CD and listened to nothing else for over a month.
I don't know who she is or how she does it, she and Ken Rawlings, but I hope she continues creating this musical magic. They can truly transport the listener back to a time and place that is not recent, not modern, even though the songs were borne of this decade and not generations ago in the mountains of East Tennessee. Every once in a while, she'll throw you for a loop by bringing you back to the present with a song like 'Pass You By' or 'Barroom Girl', even though it fits right in with the rest of the musical pieces.
I have not been this impressed with the craftsmenship and pure creativity of ANY musicians for a very long time...maybe since I was a young woman and first heard Joan Baez sing. Every song here is peerless, a gem in it's own right.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Revival
Revival by Gillian Welch (Audio CD - 2001)
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.