Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Gillian Welch

  • Revival [Almo, 1996] B-
  • Hell Among the Yearlings [Almo Sounds, 1998] Neither
  • Time (The Revelator) [Acony, 2001] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Revival [Almo, 1996]
Who cares if her polka-dot dress is a costume rather than a heritage? She's got as much right to be a folkie as 10,000 mediocrities and a few dozen geniuses before her. Iris DeMent is a custodian's daughter, Lucinda Williams a poet's daughter, Bonnie Raitt a musical comedy star's daughter, yet from their differing authenticities each has said something unique about the rural South and everyday people. Welch is a songwriting team's daughter who, as is more common, hasn't--not yet, probably not ever. She just doesn't have the voice, eye, or way with words to bring her simulation off. Unless you're highly susceptible to good intentions, a malady some refer to as folkie's disease, that should be that. B-

Hell Among the Yearlings [Almo Sounds, 1998] Neither

Time (The Revelator) [Acony, 2001]
forget Elvis--the Steve Miller mention is the real giveaway, and breath of fresh air ("My First Lover," "Ruination Day Part 2"); *