Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, April 15

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Concert Thu Jul 21 2011

Gillian Welch Breaks Your Heart This Friday

I was excited to get an actual hard copy of Gillian Welch's latest album The Harrow & The Harvest in the mail to review a few weeks back. Even more intriguing was when I went to research the work on her website, I found not one but two videos available — not for the songs on the album, but for the actual creation of the beautiful letterpressed CD insert.

I can't say that this album is one to pep you up when times are tough, but, much like the tradition of Americana and folk from whence it came (not to mention the longstanding "times are tough" themes of the Blues) these are songs that let you revel in the pain of everyday life. Like playing a break-up song on repeat for days on end, I couldn't get enough of these songs, though they didn't necessarily make me feel all bright and shiny. On the contrary, they're dark, sticky and hard to wash off your hands.

But know that The Harrow & The Harvest is a pleasure to listen to, even though it's dark on the inside. In a way, there's hope in the wide-open reality of her songs. There's a lot of talk of resignation that times can be hard (like when a friend steals your man) and sometimes you're in control of it (like when you break up with your boyfriend) "That's the way the cornbread crumbles." In the end, you're still alive, you're still around making your life what you will, and that ends up being the important part of it all. Take a moment and dive in. The album's perfect for lazy, warm afternoons on the couch watching the dust motes sail around the sunbeams, and lord knows we're having a few of those lately.

Watch Gillian Welch and David Rawlings perform on Conan back in June:

[Learn more after the jump including a lengthy video on the creative process behind the letterpressed CD cover.]

One of the greatest things Welch says in a long video about the album cover creation (below) is "it's not perfect without the anomalies" — which is always the truest thing about seeing an artist perform live. Strings break, instruments bend and warp in the humidity, musicians banter about this and that and your favorite restaurant where they had the absolute best thing to eat that day. So what are you waiting for?

Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings perform at The Vic this Friday, July 22 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $29 (plus fees) and are available online or at the box office (cash only). The Vic is located at 3145 N. Sheffield Ave. The show is all ages.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

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