NPR : World Cafe

Filed Under:

Gillian Welch On World Cafe

It's been eight years since her last studio album, but Gillian Welch has been busy. She and her longtime musical partner David Rawlings are deeply involved in each other's music, so when Welch had trouble writing new material for her own record, the two turned their focus to Rawlings' first solo album under the moniker Dave Rawlings Machine. Recording his album was the first time the two had entered the studio in many years, as they'd been touring extensively. The recording process, Rawlings says, acted as a warm-up for Welch's fifth album, The Harrow and the Harvest, which took as little as a month to record.

The Harrow and the Harvest is an apt title for the album Welch struggled to complete. She left her home in Nashville to write it, and the result is a collection of songs that are as introspective, personal and dark as anything she's recorded. The mournful, hauntingly harmonized "The Way It Will Be" has stuck around since the recording sessions from 2003's Soul Journey, and Rawlings says it marked a new style of singing from the pair. Still integral to each other's creative processes, Welch describes how a potential collaboration with Levon Helm inspired her to write "Hard Times," with Rawlings adding the chorus later on.

Hear the pair perform songs from The Harrow and the Harvest on today's World Cafe session.

Copyright 2011 WXPN-FM. To see more, visit


An Exuberantly Dark First Novel Explores The Chaos Of Central Africa

Fiston Mwanza Mujila's novel, Tram 83, is a freewheeling tale about life in an imaginary place inspired by the author's home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Critic John Powers has a review.

Louisiana Chef Paul Prudhomme, Who Popularized Cajun And Creole Food, Dies

The internationally renowned chef sparked a cooking craze and inspired other New Orleans restaurateurs. He was 75.

Best Twitter Reactions To McCarthy Withdrawing From Speaker Race

The political world was shocked when the GOP House leader took himself out of consideration for speaker. Rep. Charlie Rangel tweeted that unlike his smoothie, things weren't "smooth" for McCarthy.

How Skyscraper Construction Ties Into Tech Bubbles

There's a lot of talk in Silicon Valley about a tech bubble.Our Planet Money podcast team examines one possible indicator of a bubble: architecture. Very, very tall architecture.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.