Dave Rawlings Machine: Pilgrim’s Progress

Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch dish on the writing of Nashville Obsolete.

[caption id="attachment_157717" align="aligncenter" width="6000"] Dave Rawlings, Paul Kowart and Gillian Welch recording at Woodland Studios in East Nashville.[/caption]   To those not well versed in the Rawlings-Welch world, it can be a little difficult at first to grasp exactly how they shape and divide their dynamic, but it’s actually rather simple: they always play and write together, but when Welch sings, it’s billed as Gillian Welch, or the “duet,” as they refer to it. When Rawlings sings, it’s “The Machine.” He is not her backing band, nor is she his. Before Nashville Obsolete, any songs that ended up as Machine tracks were just written to be written – this time, they were written specifically for Rawlings. “Dave Rawlings Machine as a concept is more an indicator of the fact that I am going to be singing lead vocals as it is anything else,” he says. “I didn’t want someone to see a track that said ‘Gillian Welch’ and hit a button and hear me singing.” Some of those Gillian Welch records have become gold standards in the modern folk revival, garnering Grammy nods, becoming touchstones that modern Americana artists look to when writing their own tradition-rooted compositions. Rawlings, however, is…

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