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ALBUM REVIEW: Gillian Welch – Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs, Vol. 2

Gillian Welch

Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs, Vol. 2

Acony Records

Followers of Gillian Welch are hardy folk, having to endure long periods between albums to satiate their fandom. Sure they get to hear her on David Rawlings excellent albums as well but there’s no substitute for a pure Welch album, as she’s proved time and time again. One of the few upshots of these Covid times is we get more releases from the Americana songwriter. There’s been the covers album All The Good Times and now her second instalment of demos and reel-to-reel recordings, from the period between Time (The Revelator) and Soul Journey.

A couple of these songs, Wouldn’t Be So Bad’ and ‘Hundred Miles’ were recorded by Alison Krauss & Union Station and I’m With Her respectively but the rest get their first release here. It’s gem after gem of sublime pacing, harmonies, playing and melodies and lyrics that both melt hearts and cause them to ache. It’s not all heavy though. ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ is a sweet and simple dedication and ‘Wella Hella’ is an electric guitar-augmented, playful dance of a song. Elsewhere, ‘Picasso’ is a standout, its elegant melodies rolling along effortlessly like Neil Young on a summer breeze.  Welch’s demos and unreleased material pretty much trump the official releases of most other contemporary artists in her field. 

Chris Familton

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