- 22 Aug 17
Oh brother, here art thou...
There’s a YouTube clip which I suggest you go looking for once you’re finished reading this, in which David Rawlings, his long time partner Gillian Welch, John Paul Jones (yes, that one), and a couple of mates sing and play Led Zep’s ‘Going To California’ around a single microphone. It’s a jaw dropping performance.
The word authentic has been devalued beyond saving at this point, but this is the real thing, taking the tune all the way back to Appalachia. Close your eyes and it could be Bill Monroe or the Stanley Brothers. My point is if you’re after the pure drop, Rawlings is a man to be relied upon. The high lonesome is so inherent in his voice and the flatpicking of his trusty Epiphone Olympic, he could probably have a go at ‘Despacito’ and make it sound old timey.
Standouts on Poor David’s Almanack include the beautiful ‘Airplane’, where the singer posits the sensible notion that if he had such a vehicle, he would fly to Tennessee just for the day, or the gorgeous harmonies in ‘Cumberland Gap’, which give way to an instrumental break that Richard Thompson would be pleased with.