Gillian Welch

Gillian Welch

born on 2/10/1967 in New York City, NY, United States

Gillian Welch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Gillian Welch

Gillian Welch in 2007
Background information
Born October 2 1967

New York City, New York, U.S.

Origin Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Genre(s) bluegrass, neotraditional country, Americana, old time, folk, American Primitivism
Instrument(s) singing, guitar, banjo, drums, harmonica
Label(s) Almo Sounds
Dave Rawlings Machine, David Rawlings, Sweet Harmony Traveling Revue
Notable instrument(s)
1956 Gibson J-50

Gillian Howard Welch (born October 2, 1967 in New York City)[1] is a singer-songwriter whose musical style combines elements of bluegrass, neotraditional country, Americana, old-time string band music, and folk into a rustic style that she dubs "American Primitive".[2] Her recordings feature the harmonies and unconventional guitar work of her musical partner, David Rawlings. Welch pronounces her first name with a hard G IPA: // rather than IPA: /d/.

Biography and career

Welch was born in Manhattan and was adopted when she was three days old. She moved to Los Angeles at the age of four. On her eighth birthday she wished for and got a guitar and lessons, and learned soon to play the guitar. Studying at the University of California, Santa Cruz,[3] Welch discovered bluegrass music through the "mountain soul" stylings of The Stanley Brothers.[4] After a short stint in a local camp band called Söfa, Welch moved to Boston and studied at the Berklee College of Music.

In Boston, Welch met and began dating David Rawlings, who would become her long-time musical partner. In 1992, they moved to Nashville and began building a career. In Nashville, she met T-Bone Burnett,[5] producer to such artists as Los Lobos, Sam Phillips, Bodeans, Counting Crows, and Elvis Costello. In 1996, Welch released her first album, Revival, which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1997.[2] Since then, she has recorded other albums and collaborated on the songs "Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby" and "I'll Fly Away" on the Grammy-winning soundtrack of the Coen Brothers hit film O Brother, Where Art Thou?.[6] Welch also had a cameo in the film, as a woman in a record store trying to obtain a copy of the Soggy Bottom Boys' recording of "Man of Constant Sorrow".

Welch has also collaborated with good friend and singer/songwriter Ryan Adams on the albums Heartbreaker and Demolition. She and Rawlings toured with Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, and Buddy Miller in 2004 as The Sweet Harmony Traveling Revue. Welch and Rawlings have collaborated with Old Crow Medicine Show and appear in their video of their song "Wagon Wheel". Recently, Welch and Rawlings have been touring with Bright Eyes in 2007 on their American Cassadaga tour. Also in 2007, her song Elvis Presley Blues was covered by Jimmy Buffett on his Take the Weather With You album. Her song "My First Lover" is featured in the motion picture The Strangers.[7] Welch and Rawlings made surprise appearances in Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, D.C.; Richmond, Virginia; Norfolk, Virginia; and Asheville, North Carolina opening for Rilo Kiley in June 2008 to showcase new songs the two had been working on.



Year Album Chart Positions Label
US US Heat US Indie
1996 Revival Almo
1998 Hell Among the Yearlings 181 9 Acony
2001 Time (The Revelator) 157 5 7
2003 Soul Journey 107 1 3

Other appearances

  • Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons (1999 - Almo Sounds) - "Hickory Wind"
  • Ryan Adams  Heartbreaker (2000 · Bloodshot)
  • Old Crow Medicine Show   O.C.M.S. (2003 · Nettwerk)
  • Jay Farrar  Sebastopol (2001 · Artemis)
  • A Tribute to John Hartford: Live From Mountain Stage (2001 - Blue Plate)
  • Lifted: Songs of the Spirit (2002 · Sony/Hear Music) - "Orphan Girl"
  • Ryan Adams - Demolition (2002 . Lost Highway)
  • Bright Eyes  Cassadaga (2007 · Saddle Creek) - "Classic Cars"
  • The Deep Vibration (band)  Veracruz (EP) (2008 · Dualtone) - "Tennessee Rose"
  • Dark Was The Night with Conor Oberst - "Lua"
  • Mark Knopfler  Sailing to Philadelphia (2000)


  • The Revelator Collection, DVD, 2002


  1. Wilkinson, Alec, The Ghostly Ones, The New Yorker, 2004-09-20, pp. 78. URL accessed on 2007-11-11.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Reed, James, Gillian Welch Thrives In An Old-time Niche, Boston Globe, 2003-11-07. URL accessed on 2007-11-11.
  4. Simmons, Sylvie, Hillbilly Millionaire, San Francisco Chronicle, 2005-09-25. URL accessed on 2007-11-11.
  5. Braver, Rita, There Are Still Struggling Artists, CBS News, 2000-03-24. URL accessed on 2007-11-11.
  6. Goodspeed, John, Bluegrass at forefront of CMA awards, San Antonio Express-News, 2001-11-07, pp. 1G. URL accessed on 2007-11-11.
  7. Rogue Pictures new motion picture, The Strangers


  • Friskics-Warren, Bill (1998). "Gillian Welch". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 575.

External links

  • Official website
  • Gillian Welch at MySpace
  • Gillian Welch on
  • Gillian Welch on NPR Music
  • Extensive feature article from the New Yorker
This page was last modified 01.09.2009 07:30:43

This article uses material from the article Gillian Welch from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.