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The Harrow & The Harvest

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 28 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Redeye / Acony Records
  • ASIN: B0052T7JP8
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,625 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

2011 release from the critically adored Americana/Bluegrass singer/songwriter. The Harrow & The Harvest, Gillian's first album in eight years, is an all acoustic affair containing 10 new songs. The album was produced by David Rawlings and recorded at Woodland Sound Studios in Nashville, TN.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is a collection of stunning songs by an Authentic American Singer/Songwriter. Her partner in crime adds colour, texture and beautiful harmonies along with his amazing guitar playing. Gillian is a wonderul story teller. I highly recommend this recording.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Excellent, Excellent, Excellent. If you loved her other albums, you will love this one. If you haven't bought one of her albums before, buy this one. Excellent live!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This mellow in a good way.This CD you put on and it stays on, it plays in the back round as you day dream. Then you realize that you feel comfortable and relaxed...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xaa00fc30) out of 5 stars 143 reviews
115 of 123 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa9e5c690) out of 5 stars Worth the wait June 28 2011
By Kil Roi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Whatever the reason Gillian Welch and David Rawlings waited eight years to release this much anticipated album, we're rewarded for our patience.

The 10 tracks on "The Harrow & the Harvest" are well-penned and executed. In an interview with The Australian, Gillian said the duo struggled with getting the material just right for this album. And got it right they did. Gillian returns to her cowgirl-boots-in-a-daisy-field folk, dark lyrics and melodies with just enough melancholia to make you feel good.

Gone are the drums that adorned her previous album, "Soul Journey," (the drum work on that LP wasn't flashy, but rather curiously echoed the plodding snare thumps found on Neil Young's "Harvest.")

Standout tracks include "Dark Turn of Mind" and "Down Along the Dixie Line." But the whole album flows and is best enjoyed in its entirety, in solitude.

"The Harrow & the Harvest" is a must-have for Gillian Welch fans.

If you're new to her, this is a great starting point. But there's no need to tell you to explore her back catalog. After hearing this, you will.
78 of 87 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa9e5ca98) out of 5 stars Gillian Welch - "Ten different kinds of sad" June 28 2011
By Red on Black - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is much more than the release of an album. The last time that we properly heard from Gillian Welch was eight years ago when Lehman brothers were still in profit and Facebook was a new business start up. Granted she has toured extensively in that time and made appearances on "Friend of a Friend" in 2009 the album by her musical soul mate Dave Rawlings. She also had a large starring role on the Decemberists excellent "King is Dead" this year so 2011 is almost proving hyperactive for this great singer. So let us start by warmly welcoming her back and stating that the "The Harvest and the Harrow" is magnificent and well worth the long wait. Listeners will note immediately that it is an album of relative sparsity in terms of instrumentation, Rawlings presence is musically vital but never overwhelming and Welch herself has moved away from some of the playfulness on "Soul Journey" into a territory, which tends to explore the darker themes of her best album "Time (the revelator)". More than this it harks back to a heartfelt traditionalism which mines something very deep in American music.

"Scarlet town" has the Appalachian ambience of Caleb Mayer and is a great opener with Rawlings accompaniment showing the master musician at his best and a memorable chorus where Welch croons "look at that deep well, look at that dark day". Next up is "Dark turn of mind" a country blues lament that gently rolls along so slowly that you fear it might stop, but is genuinely exquisite. Three songs on the album start with the words "The Way" and the third song will excite those who have longed for the release of the live favourite "Throw me a rope" now renamed "The way it will be". It hints at Neil Young's "On the beach" and is an utter standout. The middle section of the album builds on this tremendous opening and comprises the drug referenced "The way that it goes", the intense six minute plus ruminating dark epic "Tennessee" (perhaps the albums nearest equivalent to "Revelator") and "Down along the Dixie Line" full of references to the deep south and lines drawn from the original civil war anthem "Dixie". In this setting the harmonizing of Welch and Rawlings is memorizing and the way he weaves his guitar lines effortless. Thus when "Six white horses" bounds in with harmonicas and handclaps its almost a full gear change upwards but a delightful one.

The album concludes with "Hard times" which could have been sung the day after the end of the civil war and it would have had resonance for that resolute generation of Americans. The penultimate song "Silver dagger" is possibly the weakest on the album sounding like a reworking of "You are my sunshine" yet other country artists would give their right arm to cover this. Finally the last of the "The Way" trilogy is the aptly named the "The Way the whole thing ends" which could have sound tracked Peter Bogdanovich's stunning portrait of a atrophied West Texas town "The Last Picture Show" as Welch gently laments "that's the way the cornbread crumbles/that the way the whole thing ends". In the last analysis "The Harrow and the Harvest" is deceptively simple album but on deeper listens we discover hidden subtleties and gradations, which Welch and Rawlings have crafted into their best album to date. A warning - this reviewer has no objectivity when it comes to these master musicians but despite this when sheer class of this calibre hits you full force all you can do is hope that we don't have to wait until 2019 for another instalment of such virtuosity.
81 of 91 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa9e5cb10) out of 5 stars silver and copper and a heart of gold June 28 2011
By Matthew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
one of things i noticed reading the other reviews is
the songs that have resonated most with me are not the same as
some of the ones that have resonated with others-- which is to
say this is a dynamic album that will touch everyone in different
ways. i've been dying for this record. they've been playing
"the way it will be" live since the time of soul journey, 8 years ago.
i've listened to the record three times since yesterday
(i don't want to overdo it). gillian's voice in a room, with
two guitars, a banjo, some hands, whatever.. it cuts to my core
and so my review will be biased because her lilts and syncopated
notes walk the edge of despair and something silver. for me, her
soulfulness resonates in a similar realm as that of otis redding-
for different reasons of course.

pretty much, i just want to thank gillian and david for putting
out another record. from the stunningly pretty guitar work on
"scarlet town" (whatever key that's in makes david's guitar
sound like copper pennies falling into a well.)
to the acid, lonesome message of "the way it will be" to
the timely and timeless, soul-stirring "hard times"--
and everything in between.

i'm grateful for this music.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa9e5cb7c) out of 5 stars Welcome back June 28 2011
By John Q. Public - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Okay, I was put off by the cornball cover illustration--too oracular by a half. I listened to the CD once this morning, and was both pleased and slightly disappointed. After the earlier heights achieved by this sterling duo ("The Revelator" being my favorite), this sounded quite decent but a little generic, assembled from the Olde Appalachian parts bin, however beautifully played. I listened to it again just now, and folks, it's growing on me. Nobody can play guitar quite like David Rawlings--sure, he's got that old Epiphone archtop and makes liberal use of the capo and alternate tunings, but his touch and melodic conception have nothing to do with the tools, everything to do with his ear and (to be more elusive) his soul. The vocal harmonies are exquisite as always. "Down Along The Dixie Line" still sounds a little automatic to me, at least lyrically. It's like a discarded song from the second Band album (not such a bad thing to be). But "Scarlet Town" or "Tennesse" or "The Way It Will Be"--well, they're sounding deeper each time I put them on.

PS Studying the cover a bit more, I'll concede that it's probably tongue-in-cheek: I don't think Gillian Welch really considers herself the Minerva of American roots music. But you never know. Increasingly addictive music, in any case.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa9e5ced0) out of 5 stars Blessed with a dark turn of mind July 6 2011
By Mike Hopping - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Harrow & the Harvest is good as they say; no better. Previous albums, including the great Time (the Revelator), grew out of the particulars of Gillian Welch's experience. She pulled some of the finest music of recent years out of personal discomfort and confusion. Expecting more of the same, I was amazed to find that she has all but vanished in The Harrow & the Harvest. If anything, this spare and impersonal presentation of a bleak, pitiless and fatalistic strain of human experience is even more improbably gorgeous than previous efforts. From the antique English folk inflected "Scarlet Town," through the "Six White Horses" comment on "Your Are My Sunshine," to a hint of "Wooden Ships" in "The Way It Will Be" (formerly "Throw Me a Rope") and too many other echoes to mention, she and David Rawlings have distilled their musical heritage into songs that are timeless and universal. The cover art is no brag.

Columbia Records producer Bob Johnston once said of Bob Dylan in his Highway 61 Revisited heyday, "He can't help what he's doing. He's got the Holy Spirit about him." Whether or not we subscribe to Johnston's religious interpretation of the phenomenon he recorded, Dylan was plugged into the mythic. On The Harrow & the Harvest, Welch and Rawlings are working at that level. They're consummate musicians delivering a clinker-free performance of music that ought to be depressing as hell but leaves the listener with her flinty chin stuck out. Yes, it's going to be knocked off but, knowing that, the beauty of humanity is in the dignity of sticking it out.