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The Harrow & The Harvest

142 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 28, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

2011 release from the critically adored Americana/Bluegrass singer/songwriter. The Harrow & The Harvest, Gillian's first album in eight years, is an all acoustic affair containing 10 new songs. The album was produced by David Rawlings and recorded at Woodland Sound Studios in Nashville, TN.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 28, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Acony Records
  • ASIN: B0052T7JP8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,784 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Kil Roi on June 28, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Whatever the reason Gillian Welch and David Rawlings waited eight years to release this much anticipated album, we're rewarded for our patience.

The 10 tracks on "The Harrow & the Harvest" are well-penned and executed. In an interview with The Australian, Gillian said the duo struggled with getting the material just right for this album. And got it right they did. Gillian returns to her cowgirl-boots-in-a-daisy-field folk, dark lyrics and melodies with just enough melancholia to make you feel good.

Gone are the drums that adorned her previous album, "Soul Journey," (the drum work on that LP wasn't flashy, but rather curiously echoed the plodding snare thumps found on Neil Young's "Harvest.")

Standout tracks include "Dark Turn of Mind" and "Down Along the Dixie Line." But the whole album flows and is best enjoyed in its entirety, in solitude.

"The Harrow & the Harvest" is a must-have for Gillian Welch fans.

If you're new to her, this is a great starting point. But there's no need to tell you to explore her back catalog. After hearing this, you will.
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77 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 28, 2011
Format: Audio CD
This is much more than the release of an album. The last time that we properly heard from Gillian Welch was eight years ago when Lehman brothers were still in profit and Facebook was a new business start up. Granted she has toured extensively in that time and made appearances on "Friend of a Friend" in 2009 the album by her musical soul mate Dave Rawlings. She also had a large starring role on the Decemberists excellent "King is Dead" this year so 2011 is almost proving hyperactive for this great singer. So let us start by warmly welcoming her back and stating that the "The Harvest and the Harrow" is magnificent and well worth the long wait. Listeners will note immediately that it is an album of relative sparsity in terms of instrumentation, Rawlings presence is musically vital but never overwhelming and Welch herself has moved away from some of the playfulness on "Soul Journey" into a territory, which tends to explore the darker themes of her best album "Time (the revelator)". More than this it harks back to a heartfelt traditionalism which mines something very deep in American music.

"Scarlet town" has the Appalachian ambience of Caleb Mayer and is a great opener with Rawlings accompaniment showing the master musician at his best and a memorable chorus where Welch croons "look at that deep well, look at that dark day". Next up is "Dark turn of mind" a country blues lament that gently rolls along so slowly that you fear it might stop, but is genuinely exquisite. Three songs on the album start with the words "The Way" and the third song will excite those who have longed for the release of the live favourite "Throw me a rope" now renamed "The way it will be". It hints at Neil Young's "On the beach" and is an utter standout.
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81 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Matthew on June 28, 2011
Format: Audio CD
one of things i noticed reading the other reviews is
the songs that have resonated most with me are not the same as
some of the ones that have resonated with others-- which is to
say this is a dynamic album that will touch everyone in different
ways. i've been dying for this record. they've been playing
"the way it will be" live since the time of soul journey, 8 years ago.
i've listened to the record three times since yesterday
(i don't want to overdo it). gillian's voice in a room, with
two guitars, a banjo, some hands, whatever.. it cuts to my core
and so my review will be biased because her lilts and syncopated
notes walk the edge of despair and something silver. for me, her
soulfulness resonates in a similar realm as that of otis redding-
for different reasons of course.

pretty much, i just want to thank gillian and david for putting
out another record. from the stunningly pretty guitar work on
"scarlet town" (whatever key that's in makes david's guitar
sound like copper pennies falling into a well.)
to the acid, lonesome message of "the way it will be" to
the timely and timeless, soul-stirring "hard times"--
and everything in between.

i'm grateful for this music.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John Q. Public on June 28, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Okay, I was put off by the cornball cover illustration--too oracular by a half. I listened to the CD once this morning, and was both pleased and slightly disappointed. After the earlier heights achieved by this sterling duo ("The Revelator" being my favorite), this sounded quite decent but a little generic, assembled from the Olde Appalachian parts bin, however beautifully played. I listened to it again just now, and folks, it's growing on me. Nobody can play guitar quite like David Rawlings--sure, he's got that old Epiphone archtop and makes liberal use of the capo and alternate tunings, but his touch and melodic conception have nothing to do with the tools, everything to do with his ear and (to be more elusive) his soul. The vocal harmonies are exquisite as always. "Down Along The Dixie Line" still sounds a little automatic to me, at least lyrically. It's like a discarded song from the second Band album (not such a bad thing to be). But "Scarlet Town" or "Tennesse" or "The Way It Will Be"--well, they're sounding deeper each time I put them on.

PS Studying the cover a bit more, I'll concede that it's probably tongue-in-cheek: I don't think Gillian Welch really considers herself the Minerva of American roots music. But you never know. Increasingly addictive music, in any case.
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