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Sunday, January 17

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Transmission
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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 »

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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...
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