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Top Customer Reviews
I only had enough to buy one cd. Out of complete random choosing, I picked up "Hell Among the Yearlings".
And here I am, having this cd for the little while that was, and it is absolutely one of my favorite albums of all time. Whereas, I can honestly say, "Revival" and "Revelator" both have a few much stronger individual songs, this album can be heard front to back without missing a beat. It is a complete sonic experience within itself.
Unlike her other two albums, Welch opens this masterpiece with the heavy hitting "Caleb Meyer", a tale of rape and revenge that immediately lays the foundation for the rest of the raw, dark Appalachian-inspired world Welch creates with every new track. Understated and appropriate storytelling flow evenly, emotionally and musically, through tracks like "The Devil Had a Hold of Me" - evoking the spirit of Robert Johnson, "Rock of Ages", and "Honey Now" - the entirely too short "electric" showcase of the album. And possibly the only song where the focus is not as strongly aimed towards Welch's lyrics as much as it is the music.
I keep finding myself unable to concentrate on other things whilst listening, which, to me, means this is NOT backround music, nor a happy cd to tap your feet to. Almost grabs you by the gullet, and doesn't take the grip off 'till its good and ready to let you go.
So what else is there...Read more ›
We can compare Welch and her partner David Rawlings with The Handsome Family, whose _Through the Trees_ also deals with dark material. The Handsome Family uses melodies and instrumentation that sound traditional, but combines these with surreal prose poetry whose images are far from the ones the melodies lead you to expect. The result is music that subverts the form it uses and leaves the listener profoundly disoriented. This is neither better nor worse than what Welch does, but the emotional effect is very different. Listening to The Handsome Family can be viscerally disturbing; I can only do it in small doses. Welch's subject matter is depressing, but that doesn't describe the result. The musical form and the poetry are matc! hed. A song like "One Morning" doesn't just sound like an Appalachian ballad; it could very well be one. That means that even though the images are chilling, we are permitted to keep some distance.
Even though Welch's more traditional approach won't give you vertigo, it would be a mistake to think that there's nothing original here, or that the images won't stick with you. "Morphine" is a case in point. The singer addresses the drug as a lover turned cruel and the music conjures up a sense of watching longings fade in a haze. After a few listenings, you feel as though the ghost of this lost junkie has brushed you by. That sort of musical onomatopoeia is part of what makes a song like "Whiskey Girl" work.Read more ›
As great as "Revival" is, I think this album is even better. The thing I like the most about it is its consistent theme of melancholy and woe; yet it is completely unpretentious and genuinely moving. The first album "Revival" (aptly named) embraces different moods (which is a great thing in itself), but this album absolutely grabs me and doesn't let go.
For me, the absolute standouts are (although EVERY track is very strong--no throwaways here!) are "My Morphine", "Miner's Refrain", "I'm Not Afraid To Die", "Caleb Meyer", "Rock Of Ages", and "Whiskey Girl" (I know, that's most of them). The purity of her vocals, and the absolute perfection of the precise harmony vocals, coupled with the crisp playing (pretty much just acoustic guitar and banjo, except for "Honey Now") and clear, bare bones production (proving that less is more when it comes to production), make for one of the best albums I've heard in years (believe me, that's really saying something!).
Thank you, Gillian, for this gift. We need artists like you. BADLY!! You give me hope!
Get this and/or "Revival". She is amazing. "The real thing".
The tradition lives on through Ms. Welch and David Rawlings in this breathtaking album, interspersed with equally inspired tunes from other genres. It would seem impossible to top the effect of hearing "Orphan Girl" as the first song on her previous album, but "Caleb Meyer" is up to the job, adding to the usual "death ballad" the feminist twist of a woman who kills the man who is trying to rape her.
In short, this is the real thing. Judging by the breadth and depth of their talent, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings can be expected to make great music for many years to come.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just a good, good album with a timeless quality. Welch and her partner, David Rawlings, play and sing with passion and the stories they tell go deep to the bone.Published 7 months ago by Bob Ryan
I'm surprised that this has a general review rating of four stars. This is one of my favorite Gillian Welch albums, and one of my favorite albums in general. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Damaged by Dub
Easily A favorite .If Alison Krause has the voice of an angel, Gillian Welch has the voice of A broken demon. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Deckard
I have long been impressed by Gillian Welch and her music. She composes well and she is an excellent performer. Read morePublished 20 months ago by George Hanson
There are common themes throughout many of her albums. Some of the sentiments on Tear My Stillhouse Down show themselves in this work. Read morePublished on April 5, 2014 by Regardless
I LOVE EVERYTHING DAVID RAWLINGS & GILLIAN WELCH HAVE EVER DONE. I LOVED IT SO MUCH I HAD TO SEE THEM LIVE!! GREAT CD!!Published on October 31, 2013 by Candace
When G.W. is on track she can't be beat. Unfortunatedly she's written about 10 songs which she re-releases with each new album with new lyrics. Sometimes it works... Read morePublished on July 29, 2013 by John N. Mcgee
One of her best cd's ever! The first track is worth the price of the whole CD! If you are going to buy any Gillian Welch, buy tis one!Published on January 14, 2013 by terrafirma