Wrestling With The Angel

The Harrow & The Harvest by Gillian Welch came out last summer, June 28 to be precise.

I’d known the release date and had been looking forward to this new CD for about a month. I’ve been a fan of Gillian Welch (see my post of October 2, 2010 on the occasion of Ms. Welch’s 43rd birthday) for some time and this album would be her first since Soul Journey came out in June of 2003.

Simply, the album was well worth the wait and I highly recommend it to you.

Of the ten excellent songs in the collection, however, one stood out from the beginning and continues to resonate with me. That song is track 8: “Hard Times.”

At the risk of getting analytical – to paraphrase writer Tom Piazza: “endless interpretation can make it harder to hear the song” – Ms. Welch and co-writer David Rawlings channel a few bits of Stephen Foster in their song. Besides the title, which immediately reminded me of Mr. Foster’s 1854 song “Hard Times Come Again No More,” the phrase “camptown man” from the first and third verse seems to be an obvious reference to one of Mr. Foster’s more well-known songs “De Camptown Races” from 1850.

But that’s enough of that. You’ve got to hear the song for yourself.

Please take a few minutes. If you’ve got headphones or the like, put them on. Close your eyes (the accompanying video can be distracting), sit back… and listen.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to that, how it feels to sing along while driving down the road or sitting with my guitar in a quiet, darkened corner of my house.

“Hard times ain’t gonna rule my mind.”

That’s some song.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, reactions, comments. At the least, I hope you enjoyed the song, the recording, and are glad you took the time to listen.

Maybe the song will in some way resonate with you and sometime soon, you’ll come back and listen to it again, or better yet, purchase the CD.

“Hard Times” by Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, from The Harrow & The Harvest.

Good music doesn’t get old.

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One Response to Wrestling With The Angel

  1. Pax Tecum says:

    ‘Sounds bitterly contemporary and beautiful in its own right. The background misleadingly painted it into a single bad time.

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