If beautifully dark Americana music is your thing, then singer/songwriter Gillian Welch is your girl. Gillian performs with her partner David Rawlings and, although the two prefer not to publicize their off-stage relationship, their onstage chemistry is undeniable. Having been a fan for over 5 years, this was the first time we’d seen Gillian and David perform live and it was worth the wait. This was the first show of their tour and I can’t imagine how the performance could have been any better.
I’m not sure at which point on the continuum between autobiographical and historical fiction Gillan’s lyrics reside but two perform the music as though they’ve lived every minute of it. While often wistful, the music isn’t sad , it’s just a different kind of beautiful; like a forsaken railroad car that’s been left to the elements. The sparse stage setup reflects their decision to perform as a duo rather than a full band and consists of two microphones for them, two for their guitars, a table with David’s tuning box, and a 3×3″ dance square for Gillian to stomp her boots. The two have an adorable stage presence, David tuning Gillian’s banjo while she played a little tune on his guitar saying “it only sounds like David’s guitar when David’s playing it”. Dave’s dextrous guitar riffs over Gillian’s gorgeous vocals and rhythm guitar give them a rich sound, much larger than you’d expect. The double encore presentation finished with a cover of the Johnny Cash/June Carter song Jackson and the crowd responded with double standing ovations.