Wednesday, September 23, 2015
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: DAVE RAWLINGS MACHINE - NASHVILLE OBSOLETE
Working with Gillian Welch (natch) and a small group of guests, Rawlings takes the lead vocals on these band recordings, but there's more that makes these different from a Welch-fronted release. The songs have a darker edge, with mystery and a Southern gothic feel. While there's fiddle on some, other major tracks such as Short Haired Woman Blues make full use of a string section, making it a full drama. The Trip, the opus of the bunch, sees Rawlings half-speaking the words, in the easy-going but poignant way Loudon Wainwright III leads you into a song. His are more personal though; Rawlins has some nastier family dirt to dig through: "Ah, but what's a bullet hole or two between friends?" The slow-paced cowboy tune gives it some high-lonesome flavour, but it's just as powerful as Desolation Row once you follow the story.
It gets bleaker. If you like Neil Young's Ditch Trilogy, Bodysnatchers could have come from On The Beach, if you moved it from L.A. to the Mississippi. Cinematic and allegorical, there's a rich listen here, certainly a full companion to any Welch album.