Gillian Welch

Soul Journey

The latest from alt-country power couple Gillian Welch and David Rawlings marks a departure from their previous three CDs. Soul Journey’s full band sound is richly textured by Greg Leisz’s Dobro and Ketcham Secor’s fiddle, but the quiet virtuosity of Rawlings’ acoustic guitar playing—the Rawlings trademark that perfectly complements Welch’s voice on the other albums and in their live performances—is conspicuously absent. Despite several high points, like the catchy “Look at Miss Ohio” or the inspired “Lowlands,” Soul Journey overall does not approach the stark and haunting power of the groundbreaking Revival (1996) or Time (The Revelator) (2001). Fortunately, like the others, the latest is built upon a foundation of solid song writing and the remarkable strength of Welch’s voice—alone more than enough to recommend it.