Album: Gillian Welch, The Harrow and the Harvest (Warner Bros)

Andy Gill
Friday 24 June 2011 00:00

On this, Gillian Welch's fifth album, the familiar blending of traditional sounds and moods with modern sensibilities is effortlessly sustained through songs like the mordant "The Way It Goes" ("Betsy Johnson bought the farm, stuck a needle in her arm, that's the way that it goes").

That three of the 10 songs' titles begin "The Way" indicates the fatalistic mood pervading the album, but Welch's gift for heartbreaking melodies brings a haunting beauty to the resignation of "The Way It Will Be", while her blissfully enervated croon conveys the comforting depth of melancholia in "Dark Turn of Mind". Elsewhere, banjo, knee-slapping and mountain harmonies lend a persuasive antiquity to "Six White Horses", and "Hard Times" offers a heartfelt paean to fading rural traditions.

DOWNLOAD THIS: The Way It Will Be; Dark Turn Of Mind; The Way It Goes; The Way The Whole Thing Ends; Scarlet Town

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in