|Welch & Rawlings: Spiritual-Musical Heirs of John Dowland?|
Gillian Welch in Concert—In reality, it’s a shorthand for Gillian Welch & David Rawlings in Concert. Welch without Rawlings is yin without yang; Laurel without Hardy. Three standing ovations at the end of their November 28th two-hour concert at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, Massachusetts celebrated the musical beast with two fronts & two backs--Welch & Rawlings. (Still, their website and my Calvin ticket cast their brand as “Gillian Welch.”)
|Flow gently their tears|
In their glass-is-half-empty aesthetic, Welch &Rawlings prove worthy descendants of John Dowland, the post-Elizabethan composer-singer-lutenist whose art exemplified his own dictum: “The Dark Is My Delight.” For him and other practitioners of the genre, melancholia was a good thing—a low-risk musical dwelling place for exploring and embracing dark emotional waters. As fellow travelers, Welch and Rawlings follow suit but with (at least) one notable difference—they explore those depths through a woman’s lens. That take on darkness is their delight—and ours.
Dark Turn of Mind:
Flow My Tears (Dowland):
Bonus Track: The Sick Rose (Benjamin Britten/William Blake)