Gillian Welch Owns The Wilma
It's a Tuesday in July, the 31st to be exact, and the music loving town of Missoula, MT has seemed to be on edge for its next big show. Missoula is spoiled with great music and compared to the usually stacked lineup of shows; this Summer had been coming up somewhat lacking. We needed something to bring our spirits up, gather all the friends you know and of course have a good reason to just party in the middle of the week. It came in the form of a throwback show of pure Appalachian Bluegrass proportions with the acoustic Americana that is Gillian Welch, and nonetheless at the equally timeless Wilma Theater. The first point needed made is that Gillian Welch is only as good as Dave Rawlings, her musical partner, vice-verse. The namesake of the duo, their traveling moniker, might belong to Gillian but in this dance it definitely takes two to tango. I walked away more than impressed; Gillian’s one of kind songwriting and deep vocals, Dave Rawling’s charisma and acoustic guitar skills, and of course the energy of the fans all made up the parts to an evening to get down to a mellow acoustic show, leaving me and seemingly most everyone else appreciating the musical experience as a whole.
The show opened with both Gillian and Dave walking to their microphones under colored house lights -tuning their guitars starting off the evening with acoustic bliss they set the mood for a night to remember. Song four of the first set “I Want To Sing That Rock N Roll” connected and got the crowd was fully engaged as Gillian reminded everyone that Missoula was the only repeat town on this year’s tour from last year’s tour, acknowledging the appreciation she has for the love that Missoula has for them. Gillian throughout the concert showed that she has not only a great musical mind but a great mind all around and a thought process that creates traditional music that will no doubt go on forever. The first set also contained very rare songs such as “Dusty Boxcar Walls”, the traditional cover made famous by Mississippi John Hurt: “Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor” which they dedicated to Doc Watson and a song that has become one of my favorites “Wayside/Back In Time”. Along with Dave Rawlings jamming in acoustic raw form throughout every song, matching her vocals in collaborative harmonies each and every song brought a spiritual edge that was layered over the crowd bringing everyone together in celebration.
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