Lookout, music fans. Americana music icon Gillian Welch’s new “Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg” is an enduring compilation of demos and outtakes from her 20 year-old “Revival” debut.
Released late last year, the two-disc compilation was lovingly shepherded in Nashville by none other than renowned producer T-Bone Burnett.
He’s worked with Gillian (pronounced with a hard “G”) Welch before, most notably on “Revival” and the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack, a project she shepherded. The latter was certified eight times platinum as of October 2007.
Fans of Welch and Dave Rawlings – her musical partner-in-excellence – are sure to treasure the new collection of musical gems. So will many music aficionados, as it documents the time the pair spent perfecting their sound.
Welch and Rawlings’ debut “Revival” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
The 21-track double album opens with “Orphan Girl,” a stellar piece the eloquent Emmylou Harris included on her 1995 “Wrecking Ball.”
Originally written by Welch while cleaning rooms at a secluded country inn outside Nashville, the poignant track has been covered by numerous artists. “Boots No. 1” gives us not one but two versions of Welch’s classic composition.
About her songwriting, Welch has been quoted as saying “I always want them to be as good as ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.'”
The songstress, who has authored such tracks as “I’ll Fly Away” and “The Way it Goes,” continues to succeed in that aspiration.
Many of the pared down, soulful tracks on “Boots No 1” follow traditional folk, country and bluegrass themes and are delivered with simple perfection.
And as usual, there’s lots to love about Dave Rawlings’ harmonies and superb, intricate picking. Rawlings has himself released two albums under the name Dave Rawlings Machine. Known for his inventive guitar work, he achieves his signature sound flatpicking a small archtop guitar.
Here’s “Annabelle” as recorded for “Revival” – another jewel from “Boots”:
Other don’t-miss tracks: rocker “Pass You By,” the spritely “Georgia Road” and the sheer joy of “455 Rocket.”
You can find her music on iTunes.
To sum up? Music connoisseurs will love the behind-the-scenes musical moments that comprise “Boots No.1.”
It just doesn’t get much better.