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Dave Rawlings Machine
Since 1996, Rawlings and Gillian Welch have created a catalog of the best, most creative acoustic-based records based in the American tradition of the past 20 years. Their reputation, based on their first two albums, tends to be frozen like a Walker Evans photograph; rural, traditional, hard and “authentic” (being on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack will do that).
To my ears, the material DRM performs is different from the Gillian Welch songs. Instead of odd, old-timey minor chords (the kind Mr. Young loves), the songs tend to be in a major mode, or resolve into one, creating a harmonic openness that creates space for the expanded cast of musicians.
Nashville Obsolete has seven songs and two of them are less than five-and-a-half minutes long. The other five feel like they would be anchor songs on anyone else’s album. They are the kind of songs that you listen closely to because you are sure the singer has something important to tell you, even if the lyrics don’t make sense to you until six years later.
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