Gillian Welch, “Orphan Girl”

Since Gillian Welch arrived in 1996 on the still-developing roots music scene with her debut album, Revival, her name has become synonymous with quality in singing and songwriting. Usually working (and often co-writing) with her musical partner Dave Rawlings, under her own name and as part of the Dave Rawlings Machine, Welch is today one of the genre’s most respected figures. “Orphan Girl,” written solely by Welch, was the opening track of Revival, which was produced by T Bone Burnett. She would later work with Burnett on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? movie soundtrack, which introduced Americana, country and bluegrass to a segment of society that had previously had no clue about this music. While Welch became renowned for vocal work that was straight outta Appalachia, “Orphan Girl” actually sounds like a song that could have been written there as well.  “Orphan Girl” is sung from the point of view of a woman who, well, has no family, and is asking God to one day unite her in Heaven with her relatives. She doesn’t sound particularly grief-stricken about her lack of a family, and even admits to having had great friends and relationships. But she still longs for that…

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