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July 13, 2024

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Gillian Welch
Soul Journey (Acony Records)

By: Mark A. Lawrence the IV

There are just some songs so powerful they can stop you in your tracks like a heart attack. Gillian Welch's "Wayside/Back In Time" is one of those songs. It came off the radio and hit me square in the chest as I drove to work. The songs on her latest, Soul Journey, are rich with the feel of traditional roots-folk music, behind lyrics steeped in heavily detailed stories. Sounding much like Lucinda Williams and Amiee Mann, Welch takes her simple arrangements and brings them to the table with a level of honesty that is so refreshing that listening to this album is like bridge jumping into a river sill cold with the snow-melt runoff of early summer. "No One Knows My Name" is where the roots influence is the most potent with the addition of Ketcham Secor (Leader of The Old Crow Medicine Show) on fiddle. This music is so like the music of rural America as if strait from the vales of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains or the golden seas of Midwest wheat fields. It doesn't try to be anything that it's not. Strait forward and lacking fan fare, Soul Journey is an awesomely powerful album, likely to fall beneath the radar. Don't let that happen. This album is worth the price to experience such truthful music, with an ability to stop the heart in your chest. Rating: A
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