It isn't out of the ordinary for me to leave a quality concert feeling motivated to become a quality musician. Something in my brain must firmly believe that attending a show means I suddenly gain heaps of musical ability solely by osmosis. Seeing Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings at Humphrey's was no different-- I left the venue with a laundry list of talents to procure as soon as humanly possible. What started with 'sing like Gillian' and 'play like Dave', trickled all the way down to 'be the best sound mixer in the Universe'. I've got a lot to work on.
Gillian opened the concert with staples "Orphan Girl", "Scarlet Town", and "Rock of Ages"-- the excellence of which assured all of us in the audience that buying our tickets was money very, very well-spent. Having only been privileged to hear Gillian's voice through headphones prior to this show, I was completely blown away with the quality of her voice in person. Pitch-perfect accuracy was achieved with a smile that never faded. Gilllian's crystal clear voice coupled with Dave's rich supporting role made it almost hard to distinguish who was singing which note. Their voices complement each other in such a way that cannot be produced from sound mixing. It was pure; it just worked.
Thanks to the fog rolling in and a banjo that just wouldn't stay in tune, we were lucky enough for a change up in the set list and a last minute addition of "Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor". The quietly earnest tune from the 2003 album 'Soul Journey' was dedicated to the late Doc Watson. Gillian and Dave shared personal stories about the folk guitar legend which instantly changed the mood of the concert from a well-organized production to a laid back, "just-playing-songs-on-our-porch-and-we're-glad-you're-here" kind of vibe.
It wasn't long after the mood swing that Gillian and Dave tried out a new arrangement of 'Six White Horses'. Sharing one microphone and providing percussion via knee-slaps and claps undoubtedly charmed every last person in attendance that night. Gillian, clad in an embroidered sundress, showed us her new cowboy boots and started dancing an Appalachian jig reminiscent of D. Ray White. Gillian Welch tap dancing. Does it get better?