100 for 2000 – #37. Gillian Welch – Soul Journey

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2003 – #7. Gillian Welch – Soul Journey
(Acony)

Yeah, this is a pretty obvious one. Gillian Welch’s fourth album took on a wider palette – drums, organs, electric guitars – and some of her best songs. Sad though, in that it’s seven years since Soul Journey was recorded and with no new album in sight, I’ve pretty much written her off.

How great it was though, when I first put this album on. From a career full of impossibly beautiful songs, this album opens with Look At Miss Ohio, a song it seemed that people started cover almost immediately. It started off as classic Gillian Welch, but then a minute or so in, there’s drums!

Looking back, all those additional instruments aren’t that shocking. They serve the songs, and they weren’t missed in a live setting. Wrecking Ball, Wayside – all worked well with or without drums.

The two best songs are not only without drums, they are mostly without David Rawlings, her long time guitar player/producer. The Welch only recordings – No One Knows My Name and I Had A Real Good Mother And Father – share a theme, alluding to Welch’s own life as an orphan. Then there’s One Little Song, as much a manifesto as anything she has ever written.

So we can only imagine how this new sound could have evolved. This year we got a debut album by Dave Rawlings, which gave us some clues. It would be so great to hear a new album, but word is they aren’t even close to starting.

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