Metromix — Gillian Welch is a band, one that features Gillian Welch on vocals and guitar and partner Dave Rawlings on guitar, and that is how Gillian Welch has worked for years.
It’s the honey voice of Welch that usually first pulls listeners into the duo’s spare, warm songs. But nearly two decades into a friendship forged at the Berklee College of Music over a shared love of very old music, Welch and Rawlings have evolved into an extraordinary duet machine, one that blends crackling acoustic music, Appalachian folk traditions and bluegrass into an effortlessly rich rural sound.
Such synergy is hard to maintain in real life and harder to maintain in music (we’re still not entirely sure if Simon and Garfunkel like each other). But part of Welch and Rawlings’ persistence as a duo comes their perfectionism and pragmatism. “We’re perfectionists of a certain stripe,” she says. “We’ll take all kinds of haphazard and accidental things in recording, but with the songwriting I feel like we inhabit this really sparse, almost puritanical world, and there just isn’t very much that fits in that world.”