Gillian Welch & David Rawlings: On Rediscovering ‘the beautiful heat of living’

03 November 2020 | Hanif Abdurraqib | The New York Times

As we enter yet another season of our individual and collective loneliness, it feels almost cruel to reminisce about the power of live music. But if, in some beforetime, you were lucky enough to see Gillian Welch and David Rawlings live, you most likely experienced the feeling of homecoming that two performers who genuinely love being onstage together can bestow on an eager audience.

Welch and Rawlings have been singing together since the early ’90s, and onstage, each can discern what the other needs with just a quick exchange of glances or the tap of a foot. That level of trust extends outward, drawing the audience into a tight circle of intimacy. Welch sings with her entire face — when a song bends toward joy, she almost can’t help smiling, and when a song bends toward sorrow, she looks contemplative, sometimes heartbroken, sometimes resigned to whatever the song’s fate may be. But her voice is consistent and clear, always.

It resonates in the heart first: She sings as though she’s either mourning or preparing to mourn. Rawlings is the more animated of the two — he’s tall and athletic and energized. When he plays his guitar, his entire upper body twists and turns in small but ferocious movements. Their combined voices operate beyond simple sonic harmony.

There are emotional inquiries at play. If Welch’s voice delivers the good news or the hard news of the world, Rawlings’s voice comes underneath, asking how much deeper the sadness can go or what fresh heights the ecstatic can climb to.

I saw them in Virginia in the fall of 2018 at an outdoor show that was intermittently stormy. A crowd of a few hundred people descended on a wide field, our feet sinking into the muddy grass. About halfway into their set, they gave a performance of the song “Hard Times” that has been worked into my memory.

The tune is, on its surface, about overcoming the world’s ills — a man plows and sings to his mule, until he stops plowing and one day the mule is gone. It’s a patient and heartbreaking song, filtered through a vague but believable promise of something better. Especially when played live, it feels as if you’re nursing an open wound that is slowly stitching itself closed, inch by inch.

As they sang, the rain started to fall, and the audience gathered closer to one another while the mud rose around us. Welch handled the first two-thirds of “Hard Times” on her own, picking along on a banjo, laying out the facts of the landscape and the characters upon it.

Rawlings stood slightly behind her, swaying silently, maybe plucking a guitar string or two. He showed an almost visible restraint, vibrating with anticipation. Then Welch’s line “We all get to heaven in our own sweet time” seemed to activate Rawlings, transforming the song from a distant but touchable story into immediate instructions for a listener who might be ruled by some anguish and looking to get free.

When they hit the line “And kick ’til the dust comes up from the cracks in the floor,” they lifted their feet simultaneously on the word “up” and instinctively brought them down at the same time. That is the magic of their performance, making the small moments romantic.

They sing as though they’re letting you in on a secret that might not save your life forever but will definitely save it in that moment. I miss the performances of songs that feel like the birth of entire planets. With Welch and Rawlings, you could get that feeling five, six times a night.

When I met Welch and Rawlings in August, they were as warm as their shows have led me to expect, but there was a tentativeness, too, as we positioned ourselves more than six feet apart to talk. Welch and Rawlings, like myself and many others, hadn’t interacted with too many people during the spring and summer.

We were standing in a giant room inside Woodland Studios, the duo’s home base in East Nashville, a neighborhood hit hard by a tornado that ripped through the city in March, right before the pandemic confined much of the country to our homes.

“If you look up,” Welch said, indicating a ceiling haphazardly patched with what seemed to be wood, “you can see where we had no roof.” The building had once been the Woodland Theater, before becoming a studio where Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, among others, rolled out folk and country hits at a rapid pace. Rawlings and Welch, who are also a couple, bought the building about two decades ago after it was nearly destroyed by a different tornado and then condemned by the city.

Welch, wearing all black (including her mask), walked gingerly through the space as if she were seeing it again with fresh eyes and calmly laid out the damage.

In March, Welch and Rawlings ran through the storm from their nearby house to the now-roofless studio to rescue their equipment and — more important — their master recordings. As the rain poured in, they had to keep moving things around for nearly 10 hours: boxes of recordings, rolling crates full of guitars. There was no power and no cell service at the time, no way to reach out to anyone else.

It was just the two of them and a friend who was living in the studio’s apartment, trying to save what they could, illuminating the darkness with dying flashlights.

“Dave and I have literally, physically saved every piece of our world,” Welch said, “And it begs the question: Why did I save this? What is the value of this? What did I intend to do with this?” Her voice was hushed and contemplative, as if she were no longer speaking to me but to herself. “Did I think all of this was just going to be safe forever?”

For the duo, the months after the tornado and the pandemic struck led, perhaps unexpectedly, to an increased output. They released “All the Good Times,” an album of old folk songs, at the start of July, and they will spend the rest of the year releasing “Boots 2: The Lost Songs,” a three-volume collection of recordings that were rescued from the flooded studio (the first volume was released in the middle of July).

It is unlike Welch and Rawlings to push this much music into the world in a single burst — 58 songs in half a year, which is seven more than those on Welch’s five studio albums combined. But with the country careering toward new depths of uncertainty, Welch and Rawlings have discovered a new emotional urgency. They are once again returning to what they know: songs about the slow, challenging, beautiful heat of living, about people having to make hard decisions on a path to goodness.

Rawlings and Welch at home in Nashville.
Rawlings and Welch at home in Nashville.Credit…Kristine Potter for The New York Times

“Gillian writes in a way that sounds like she’s from the 1800s,” the singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers tells me. “Everything is so rich and so grounded. The songs feel timeless, even though they are so genre-based.”

Rawlings and Welch, who are 50 and 53, have had an outsize influence on both songwriters of their own generation and younger songwriters pursuing folk music, or even on the outskirts of it. Bridgers is one of the many examples of younger artists who have been inspired by the duo (she routinely covers the song “Everything Is Free”).

“The pairing of Welch and Rawlings,” Bridgers told me over the phone, “is a dream. It’s kind of a miracle that they found each other — these two people obsessed with songwriting and tape and getting things perfect. They’ve become almost one entity.”

Welch and Rawlings recorded “All the Good Times” on their couch in the early months of the pandemic, thumbing through an old dog-eared folk songbook that they’d held dear since their time at Berklee College of Music in the early ’90s. The songs sound intimate, almost as if you are in the room with them but perhaps hiding, an uninvited guest to their party.

The recordings are sparse — so sparse that the excitement isn’t in the instrumentation itself but in the slow crawl of two voices, seeking to meet each other in the field of some chorus or crescendo. The best of the revisitations are the ones that ache, like the title track, which slows down Ralph Stanley’s version.

The song is about parting with a lover, but when Rawlings’s voice kicks in the door with the lyrics “I wish to the Lord I’d never been born/or died when I was young,” it is so rightfully deflating that it suddenly becomes a eulogy for an entire country, an entire world as we knew it. And that is the trick with “All the Good Times” — finding in these old and familiar songs new and unfamiliar griefs.

The final song on “All the Good Times” is “Y’all Come,” a song recorded by Bill Monroe that is, quite simply, about gathering with friends and neighbors. Their version is a touch slower than Monroe’s, but it still keeps the same jubilant tone. When I brought up their rendition, Welch grinned wryly. “That’s funny, in this moment,” she said, lightly shaking her head and gesturing with her hand to the vast outdoors. “It’s like: ‘Y’all come and see us when you can. We’re not going anywhere.’”

It started to rain, and our plan to sit and talk at a table and chairs looking over the green of Rawlings and Welch’s backyard was scuttled. We huddled under an awning along the side of their house as the storm beat out a rhythm above our heads.

Free of the masks once adorning our faces, Welch and Rawlings fell more comfortably into conversation. Rawlings is often delightfully tangential — self-aware enough to know he’s being tangential but too excited to stop himself, the way lovers of music can be when they feel as if they’ve met someone new they can banter with. Welch speaks the way she writes, the way she sings — with a deeply controlled thoughtfulness layered with a matter-of-fact honesty.

As we talked about some of our singing and writing heroes, Welch mentioned Bob Dylan. “I don’t know what I’ll do when he’s gone,” she told me, pausing to stare into the rain-soaked distance. “I can’t even talk about it.”

Welch and Rawlings are writer’s writers, but they’re generous enough to open multiple doorways: They don’t write simple songs as much as they write richly layered songs that are simple for any listener to find some grounding in. They are also nostalgic, not just in an aesthetic sense but also in a very practical sense.

They nod in their lyrics to the heroes of their past, the friends of their present. In the fourth verse of “I Dream a Highway,” the sprawling, 15-minute final song on “Time (The Revelator),” from 2001, Welch sings: “Which lover are you, Jack of Diamonds? Now you be Emmylou, and I’ll be Gram.”

Emmylou Harris has made a career out of a great many talents, but one of them is her versatility as a duet partner — notably, as Welch and Rawlings say in the song, in the early ’70s with Gram Parsons. But also with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt on two albums as a trio, and at times over the past two decades with Welch herself.

“Most singers, most people I hang around with, people love to sing together,” Harris told me over the phone when asked about the roots that Welch and Rawlings continually tap into. But there’s a certain joy in finding what she called “that perfect third voice together.” She likened it to dancing. “You don’t have to be fleet of foot; you’re just joining in with someone else.”

Harris insists that Welch and Rawlings have remained so sturdy as a duo because they would be playing music regardless of whether anyone was listening to them. “They’re so pure without being precious,” she says. “In their own way, they’re punk.”

Rawlings and Welch outside Woodland Studios.Credit…Kristine Potter for The New York Times

The two have endured a lot this year. In the midst of rebuilding a studio, in the midst of a pandemic, trapped at home, they have been reformatting old songs they made, old songs they love. Maybe it’s a way of living out another version of their adulthood, another version of a world that might have felt better or at least a little more promising.

With the rain settling, Welch and Rawlings told me about the origin of “Boots 2.” It is a collection of songs that was stashed after being recorded in December 2002, born of an eager desire to fulfill a contract. In 1994, shortly after they moved to Nashville, Welch got a publishing deal that required her to produce a certain number of songs every year.

Less than a year later, she got her own record deal, causing her to fall far behind on her publishing contract. Welch owed over 30 songs, but as her own career was gaining momentum, she was desperate to get out of the deal. Rawlings had a simple idea: If the company needed songs, the duo would give them songs. Over the course of a weekend — “a long weekend,” Welch clarified — the duo wrote 48 songs.

“I write in pencil in college-ruled spiral notebooks, and there were just stacks of them,” Welch told me. “Dave would page through the notebook, find a contender, type it out, bring it in to me and say, ‘This is the unfinished lyric and unfinished song.’ And then he would go in and start trying to find another. And I would try to just finish it by the time he’d come back in with another. Like an assembly line.”

They put the songs to tape, but not as proper recordings, merely to document them. The tapes sat for 18 years, most of the songs heard by no one. Upon their post-storm rescue, they were remastered.

“Boots 2” made me think of what Harris said: It does feel a little bit like a punk record, not just in the rapid and somewhat rogue nature of its recording but also in its pace. The songs are undoubtedly finished and immensely sharp, but they’re quicker than the usual Rawlings-Welch experience. Many of them clock in at just around two minutes — narratives packed tightly into small spaces, sprints instead of a single marathon.

“We are often working with what is a very small kernel of a thought or an idea and trying to keep the focus there,” Rawlings tells me. “And one of my favorite things about writing in general is that you are as on the outside of it as anyone.” He also described their process as being like “water running down a hillside. It follows the same path every time. And it’s a path that we think is pretty.”

Welch and Rawlings performing at the 2011 Newport Folk Festival.
Welch and Rawlings performing at the 2011 Newport Folk Festival.Credit…Douglas Mason/Getty Images

In “First Place Ribbon,” which is only two minutes long, listeners are dropped into a county fair, walking past a kissing booth, with a character they might feel as though they’ve known for ages. There are songs about the vast blankness of a road that feels as if it could be a road you have known and been on.

Songs about bad men trying to do good to get out of a bad place. There’s no concern for the neatness or resolution; sometimes the song just ends. As with Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City,” a scene is laid out, the stakes are determined and the life within the song has to carry on, without a listener present to watch it unfold. There’s generosity in this, too. An ability to trail off in a manner that allows for some flexing of the imagination. For the song to live in the mind for hours after it is gone.

The best duos and duet singers understand that creating harmony is sometimes a series of musical negotiations, sometimes a series of personal negotiations, sometimes both. If you are Daryl Hall and John Oates, for example, still touring hits but not particularly interested in creating new work, the musical negotiation supersedes all else.

If you are Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel in the early ’70s, competing ambitions force the personal relationship to break down, despite the brilliance of the output. If you’re Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, the negotiations are made for you by fate, whether you like it or not (Parsons died at 26 in 1973). If you are Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, there’s a sense almost of predestination, as if you were traveling toward each other all along.

Welch was born in Manhattan and adopted into a musical family when she was just a few days old. When she was 3, her family moved to Los Angeles when her parents took a job writing music for “The Carol Burnett Show.”

“In my house, everyone sang all the time,” Welch tells me. “My mother used to embarrass me. She’d sing in the department store.” And then, with a small laugh, she adds, “and now I sing in the department store.” When she was 7, Welch asked for a guitar, and she was in luck. Her sister, who was six years older, had briefly taken up guitar and then abandoned it. By the time she was 7, Welch had already tried her hand at piano and drums, with little interest. “I had really sensitive hearing as a kid,” she says. “I didn’t like making noises that loud. I liked the privacy of silence. When I was playing guitar, I could be in my room, and no one would know.”

“I think we’re only just now getting good at what we do.”
“I think we’re only just now getting good at what we do.”Credit…Kristine Potter for The New York Times

When she was 9, she would play through James Taylor and Simon and Garfunkel songbooks. When she hit the end of the books, eager for more songs, she figured she could write her own. At 10, she started in on her first notebook.

After graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with an arts degree, Welch traveled to Europe. She thought she would stay abroad for a while and continue to just play music for her own enjoyment, but her parents had other plans. “Well, they thought I was never going to come home,” she says. “So, partly to get me to come back — and recognizing that I was a little lost — they offered to pay for a year of music school.” Welch made her way to Berklee in Boston.

Rawlings grew up in North Smithfield, R.I., and had a slower start to his musical ambitions. Or, understanding that Welch’s start was extraordinary, it can be said that Rawlings had a normal start. “I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was maybe 16,” he tells me. “It was that moment in the ’70s when, in country music, that urban-cowboy thing was happening. And so there was stuff like, you know, Kenny Rogers — some of that stuff had broken through. Like Jim Croce. And if it was a story song, I’d memorize the words, and I’d sing them in my head all of the time.”

He wanted to get an instrument to play them. Rawlings and his family went to a Catholic church where elders “on the hippie side of things” would play 12-string guitars during Mass. But when Rawlings finally did get his own guitar, he got good at it quickly because his fingers were so agile from a childhood of obsessive video-game playing. “I was always kind of systematic about things that I wanted to try to get good at,” Rawlings says. “And there’d been things I enjoyed, like playing basketball, where I knew that no matter how hard I tried to drill it into myself, there was a ceiling. And I think as soon as I got the guitar, I realized I maybe didn’t have a ceiling.” He, too, eventually enrolled at Berklee.

In the early ’90s, Berklee wasn’t exactly flush with roots and folk musicians. “It was always just 19 dudes on electric guitar and then me,” Welch says. “There was one country-roots ensemble in the whole school, and we both auditioned for it and got in.”

Both Rawlings and Welch talk of a moment that decided their partnership, a month or two after leaving Berklee and moving to Nashville in 1992. They were sitting in Rawlings’s kitchen. Knowing they had a shared interest in duets, they started noodling around on their guitars and singing the classic “Long Black Veil.” They instantly sensed the bones of something good, potential they honed until it was fully realized. Rawlings tells me, “If you have the same North Star as someone, and if you’re trying to walk in the same direction, something will click.”

Rawlings and Welch backstage at The Station Inn in Nashville around the mid-90’s.
Rawlings and Welch backstage at The Station Inn in Nashville around the mid-90’s.Credit…From Gillian Welch and David Rawlings

There is the musical definition of harmony, but there is also a part of that definition — “a pleasing arrangement of parts” — that can be mapped onto the emotional, the personal. If a duo has really dug themselves in, as Welch and Rawlings have, the stakes are precariously high.

So much can go wrong if one person doesn’t afford the other grace, or generosity, or the ability to be met halfway, no matter how dark the road. Welch and Rawlings have a clear understanding of when to give each other space and when to collide. And when they do collide, it isn’t as if they’re elbowing each other in a fight for land. It sounds, more often, like two people telling the exact same story from two different rooms in the same house.

“Duet singing affords you incredible freedom to move around,” Welch says. “It’s confining in some way too, because you can’t hide under a band. But you have a freedom — and with it comes incredible responsibility. But it suits us. It’s like doing a dance in 40 pounds of chains.”

Welch and Rawlings are certainly not at the end of their careers — in fact, Welch insisted, “I think we’re only just now getting good at what we do.” But there has also been real, tangible loss in the music world they’ve orbited. The pandemic took John Prine, an artist the duo covered on “All the Good Times.” Just a few days before I met them, the news of the folk singer Justin Townes Earle’s death at 38 trembled through town. Welch and Rawlings played with Earle on a tour.

When confronted with the broad question of time, work and age, they each paused, considering the weight of legacy, as the rain in the backyard slowly picked up again. Welch beamed with a sad smile when she talked about how Levon Helm, the drummer from the Band, told the duo the three should start a band every time they played with him.

And then, as if remembering it at the same time, the two fell into a story. “Time (The Revelator)” was up for an Americana Music Association award in 2002. Welch and Rawlings had to perform that night and were put in an especially challenging spot when they realized they had to follow Johnny Cash and June Carter singing “Ragged Old Flag.”

“I remember Johnny was so frail,” Rawlings said. “He had to go up three of those little aluminum stairs they put on the edge of, like, goofy old stages. And he walked up those three steps, and he’s still a little bit in the shadow. In the one step from where those stairs were, from the shadows to the light, he just turned into Johnny Cash. He stood up straight and he put his chest up and he walked down to that microphone and he was Johnny Cash. It was so incredibly moving to see someone who was born to perform and born to be a persona. That was connected to his person. But you could see that it wasn’t, it wasn’t — ”

Welch wove her way into the opening: “It wasn’t all of him.”

“Being an artist is something that you do bring and put on,” Rawlings added.

“It doesn’t mean it’s not you,” Welch said. “It might be the absolute, highest part of you. But you don’t always have it on.”

“If you have the same North Star as someone, and if you’re trying to walk in the same direction, something will click.”
“If you have the same North Star as someone, and if you’re trying to walk in the same direction, something will click.”Credit…Kristine Potter for The New York Times

There is an unspoken heartbreak hanging over our conversation. The night before was a Saturday. On the streets of Nashville, live music weakly tumbled out of some half-full bars; others were closed. Some had signs suggesting that there might be an opening on the horizon; others looked as though they wouldn’t be so lucky. The streets were, in some cases, more packed than I imagine the C.D.C. would like, but there was a tentative undercurrent. A cacophonous city unsettled by near silence.

Welch and Rawlings have spent much of their career on the road, understanding that their music resonates best when they are the ones animating it. They’ve toured without much glamour, throwing what they need in a car and traversing the country. They speak romantically of the road. Not the shows, either. The very literal road — the highways they’ve been on or the things they’ve seen from car windows. Being on the road is, of course, another opportunity to accumulate stories. To turn over a few more of America’s stones and see what is underneath.

Rawlings and Welch performing in 2001.
Rawlings and Welch performing in 2001.Credit…Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images

But when I asked if they were eager to get in front of people again, Rawlings paused before answering. “Maybe there’s a little shift of perspective and understanding that the recorded work will outlive the live show.” Welch put a finer point on it. “Not to ring a sour note, but eventually your faculties start to diminish.”

In a perfect world, Welch said, she would write more — and in a noncyclical way, in a way detached from the rigors of touring. There is only one problem, Welch told me: She hadn’t been able to write since the tornado in March.

And in some ways, it all began to make sense. This immersion in a book of old folk songs, this resurfacing of old but brilliant work. Yes, of course, tragedy creates urgency, but so does the uncertainty of who you are if you aren’t doing the thing you do well. And so I wondered aloud whether they might be feeling as though they had temporarily run out of things to say. Welch almost immediately rebuffed the idea.

“I don’t think that’s possible, to run out of things to say,” she said. As she had put it earlier, “I have to know what I think about something and have gotten to the other side of it to have the last verse.” Many weeks later, Welch texted me with an update: “About a month ago, my eye was drawn to a book that has sat mostly unread on my shelf for some time, ‘The Book of Disquiet’ by Fernando Pessoa. I picked it up and randomly read a passage of such beautiful poignancy, such exquisite human precision, that the wonderment of creative expression flooded me. I told no one about it, but kept it to myself, and the impulse to write, the need to grapple with this moment has returned to me and grown from that little seed.”

In Nashville, it was getting late, and even the cicadas were singing as though they were trying to land a record deal — loud, harmonious stretches of sound falling atop one another. We had to lean in a little closer to hear one another over the choir, going back and forth about what Welch called “the small particulars” of writing that they love; how they would be writing and hit upon a phrase, and how the phrase would slowly unfurl into something greater. This part of our conversation felt almost like the two onstage — unburdened and gleefully chasing after a higher calling.

They began talking about “Hard Times,” eagerly bouncing ideas off each other as if they were right back to sketching out the song for the first time. Not so much debating but weighing the merits of the song’s small machinery — clarifying the narrative, making the language more evocative.

“We like qualifiers,” Rawlings said, moving his hands as if he were fitting puzzle pieces into place. “There was the moment of thinking about a hard-times song and then coming up with ‘Hard times aren’t gonna rule my mind.’ And then going, ‘No more.’ And then going, ‘OK, this is now something that I understand and know how to express or deal with.’”

“Yeah, it almost relates to that moment of transformation or redemption, or some switch gets flipped,” Welch came in, lively. “Someone has said to me before that songs — there has to be a reason for them. They’re kind of about, you know, pinnacle moments. Precise moments.” She gave an example: “ ‘One more dollar, and I’m going home.’ These help us focus on this transformative moment.”

“They’re so pure without being precious,” says Emmylou Harris about the duo. “In their own way, they’re punk.”
“They’re so pure without being precious,” says Emmylou Harris about the duo. “In their own way, they’re punk.”Credit…Kristine Potter for The New York Times

Redemption and optimism are subjects that I find difficult to approach, especially now, considering not only the masses of people dying but also the way lives have become mere numbers on a constantly ascending chart. Considering that the country itself might not be worthy of redemption. Considering, of course, that with every reason for optimism I’ve found, there is a new, darker, more cynical corner unearthed.

But now I found myself thinking about the arcs of redemption that flow through the duo’s songs. How gentle they are to their characters, their landscapes. Even when some might think they don’t deserve it. Throughout their career — even in some of “The Lost Songs” and the songs they chose on “All the Good Times,” there’s some relief at the end of the darkness.

In their version of Dylan’s “Abandoned Love,” the two wring all the anguish out of the song’s first seven verses before patiently, gently, laying out the final verse: the one where Dylan asks to feel the love of his wife just one more time before he abandons their relationship. It’s hopeful — the kind of ending to a song where you know the answer was yes, just by how it is sung. It is the rigorous truth-telling that the two excel in: One cannot be redeemed without a clear articulation of why redemption is needed. And that’s the part that some other singers might gloss over. But Welch and Rawlings, as writers, dig their hands into the mess of a life that is worthwhile despite its messiness.

“There’s something good in trouble,” Welch said, half drowned out by the shouts of the cicadas. “The kind of particular trouble that I seem to connect with is that other kind, where it’s not the endpoint. And I am aware that I don’t view the redemption in a lot of these songs as an outside force. It’s like a self-redemption. I think in a lot of them, the person just manages to persevere and get through it. And sometimes there’s grace, but sometimes I think it’s just the person not giving up.”

By now, Welch was smiling a bit, eager to discuss redemption in a moment that sometimes seems unredeemable. “I grew up singing folk music, where I was singing from the point of view of a man, very often a Black man, or a Black woman, all these different people, and I’d connect with all of them. And so that’s what we’re trying to do. I’m trying to write the song that everyone can sing, not because it’s so bland but because it’s so deep down in the human experience that it’s what everybody deals with. Love, loss, death.”

Welch surprised me, then, with an unexpected declaration: “I am an optimist.” Instinctively, and perhaps too clinically, I asked how that was going for her now, in that moment. She paused, with night closing in and the clouds, once heavy with rain, now thin enough to see some stars through.

“It’s going OK,” she told me. “I don’t believe anyone is going to stop the spirit of all the humans out there.”

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, an essayist and a cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His forthcoming book is “A Little Devil in America,” to be published next March.

Original Link: How Gillian Welch and David Rawlings Held Onto Optimism


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Published by James Porteous

James Porteous began writing record and concert reviews when he was 14-years-old. He continued working as a freelance writer, as well as a visual researcher and archivist for two major TV networks. His latest book is the fictional biography The Last Record Album. The ebook is available worldwide at Amazon, Kobo and Apple. View all posts by James Porteous

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