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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening To…Dave Rawlings Machine (with apologies to WBS for stealing his spot) July 2, 2011

Posted by yourcousin in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Not sure how to describe his long term collaboration with Gillian Welch and laterally members of Old Crow Medicine Show. Officially it’s now labelled the Dave Rawling’s Machine, but unofficially I think that’s just a name given to a long term coupling of very talented artists. Certainly there are tracks that have appeared under my OCMS post.

Rawlings has been a constant while both Gillian Welch and OCMS did their thing. After producing multiple albums for and accompanying others Rawlings finally stepped forward as a frontman in his own right with the release of Friend of a Friend. Solid stuff.

I’m always kind of at a loss for the whole narrative structure that accompanies theses kinds of posts. I mean I get trying to construct a larger narrative for cultural purposes and giving a background of where the artists come and how one came to listen/ like/ move on from said artist. But for me it really comes down to a soundtrack for my weekend browsing on CLR.

Being that this weekend is the 4th of July I almost opted for a Fighting Side of Me kind of weekend.  Maybe it’s just my contrary nature, but thankfully for us all I decided to revisit a draft that had been collecting dust for awhile and offered up what I thought was a genuine slice of Americana.


Backing up OCMS

Backing up Gillian Welch

Stepping up front with songs off of Friend of a Friend

Still have a hard time listening to a song called “Ruby” and not thinking of this song.

Probably the top song off of the album

With a shout to Crocodile who pointed out Rawling’s version in my OCMS post. This particular version is probably my favorite. Much more stripped down than OCMS’s version and yet with a more forceful voice than the album cut. Throwing in Woody Gutherie never hurts either…

Something my kid can like

And finally one that took awhile to grow on me. It wasn’t until that I broke down, went out and bought the CD that I liked it. I was coming home from a shift at 2:00 in the morning. Bone tired and burnt out. It was only at that point that I “got it” so to speak.


1. WorldbyStorm - July 2, 2011

Hey, no reason to apologise, it’s never been really my spot 🙂

Gillian Welch I know, but Rawlings I didn’t. Excellent.

I also see there’s a Robyn Hitchcock crossover, and as some will know I’m a bit partial to his stuff.



yourcousin - July 2, 2011

Yes but you did have a post lined up and ready to post. And since I wasn’t sure if I was going to get one done I didn’t tell you before hand. Therefor I stole your spot this weekend, something which I do feel bad about.


WorldbyStorm - July 2, 2011

Ach, no problem at all.


2. EM - July 2, 2011

Listening to the brand new Gillian Welch — can be included anytime as part of the Rawlings experience. Singling out two songs although only it’s only a week old release: “Silver Dagger” and “Hard Times.” Outstanding. “Silver Dagger” is not anything like the one she did with Chieftains.


yourcousin - July 2, 2011

To be truthful I didn’t know she had a new album out, will definitely check it out. I would agree that Welch is definitely part of the Rawlings experience. It’s something I enjoy when listening to Welch/Rawlings/and laterally OCMS is the fact that there seems to be a genuine collaboration of artists who enjoy one another, the music, and have no problem switching up the frontperson multiple times in a show.


3. crocodile - July 2, 2011

Great call, yourcousin. As it happens, I’ve been in remoter parts of Connemara for the last few days with only 2 CDs, one of which was Rawlings’ ‘Friend of a Friend’ – so I have, literally, mostly been listening to Dave Rawlings. Don’t know if you’ve seen them live, but Rawlings is a formidable guitarist. At their best he and Gillian are up there with Richard and Linda Thompson: he has that kind of virtuosity, she that kind of purity.
If you like that pure, clear type of vocal give the other CD I had with me a listen – Laura Cantrell’s ‘Kitty Wells’ Dresses’:

For another side of Gillian and Dave:

on a great Townes song with Norah Jones.
Rachel Harrington is operating in a similar area:


yourcousin - July 4, 2011

Glad you like the selection. I’m trying to do my little bit to bring good music to CLR, though at times it seems like a finger in the dyke.

You know it’s funny you should mention the fact that you were actually mainly listening to this album. I actually had at one point intended to do an post on what I had actually listened to in a week. That week it was the Oak Ridge Boys. Who knows I still might.

Truth be told I’m not the type to wander far from home, both literally and musically. So I just dig ever deeper into old albums and content myself with rediscovering things that I knew about and forgot. My older brother on the other hand is constantly pushing to find new things. Some I’ve taken a shine to, some I haven’t and taking a more conservative tac than him I would exclude some of his choices from the “country comps” he burns me now and then.

Truthfully I’m not a concert guy. The last show I went to was David Allen Coe back before I was married (3+ years ago). It was okay. I rolled in from work in my overalls, got shit faced in the bar/balcony. Found out my good friend got out of prison and heard DAC play some good Guy Clark, but I hate crowds and the opening hard rock outfit pissed me off. Besides that, anymore I just want to spend time with my family at home, not go out.


4. crocodile - July 2, 2011

Sorry, don’t know what I did wrong there. here’s rachel:


5. Earl Williams - July 3, 2011

What, no Neko Case?


yourcousin - July 4, 2011

Definitely no Neko Case


6. yourcousin - July 4, 2011

The thing is I’m not into alt country or any of that crap. To me it’s country music. It’s what I grew up with. It’s simply sad that 16kicks classic country station that had been going for over 55 years went they under a few years ago so I can no longer hear the music I grew up with. And KYGO and all that new country isn’t what I recognize as country music.


7. sonofstan - July 4, 2011

The thing is I’m not into alt country or any of that crap


Surprised you absolve Gillian Welch though: – I’ve heard a couple of her records and seen her live and it all strikes me as mannered as hell.

Wish you had stuck up ‘Fighting Side of Me’ or better still, this

Roy Nichols …


yourcousin - July 4, 2011

Welch is solid. I don’t own any of her albums (the fate of too many artists in the iTunes era) but her shit is good with me. I should state that my criteria for what is and isn’t “country” is extraordinarily subjective. So if it strikes a chord with me and I can connect it with my “canon” then it’s good. So I should note that Welch is connected to Emmy Lou Harris who’s connected to Guy Clark who is as good as it gets in my book.

I doubt a “fighting side of me” weekend would’ve gone over well in these environs. I’m certainly not afraid to argue my corner and will never apologize for who I am, but I see no point in posting a piece that would be seen as not only antithetical to this site’s ethos but one that would by its very essence be confrontational and reactionary. I guess it goes back to the lesson my family gave me about not discussing religion or politics in polite company.

As for working man blues…I have no desire to post a song I am living.


sonofstan - July 4, 2011

Guy Clark is great, love Old No. 1 – And i saw Emmylou with the Hot Band when i was 15 and it made me want to be James Burton….. maybe I need to give GW another chance.

I love the Hag tho’, and his politics are interesting – he’s certainly not down the line reactionary. his version of Dolly Parton’s ‘In the Good Old Days when Times Were Bad’ is as stark as it gets, for example.


crocodile - July 4, 2011

The ‘alt country’ tag makes my heart sink, too. It covers too many mediocre singer/songwriters and rock bands who’ve heard a Gram Parsons album or seek to borrow some kind of credibility or authenticity from a tradition which they don’t understand. It’s like those gastropub menus that offer steak and kidney pie ‘with a twist’ – forget the twist: if you can make the real thing properly that’s more than good enough.
Welch and Rawlings’ work is not pastiche. No, they aren’t Merle Haggard, but I don’t think they’d claim to be. They don’t believe – as I don’t – that country or American folk music are genres closed to new applicants (we had a fair amount of that argument in relation to our own traditional music). They’re no more proletarian than Parsons or Emmylou or Townes van Zandt – but they write beautiful songs and perform them beautifully. The fact that they use a palette associated with ‘country’ or ‘folk’ tells you where to look for them in the CD shop, nothing more.


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