Sunday, 27 November 2011

Musician Gillian Welch supports traditional crafts...

I recently had the huge pleasure of seeing one (well, two really) of my favourite musicians play at the Manchester Apollo. I always struggle to describe Gillian Welch and her partner David Rawlings to other people, because you really have to hear their music to appreciate what they're all about.

This is a 2004 video of the song that they ended the main set with in Manchester (introducing it by saying: 'we're going to end with a good killing song...')

Caleb Meyer is one of my favourite songs and gives you an idea of Gillian and David's amazing skills as singers, songwriters and performers. Dave's guitar playing is just incredible! :D

Although I love all the albums, listening to them at home is nothing compared to seeing and hearing the songs performed live. The sound Gillian and David produce is so rich and full, especially considering its just the two of them. Also, because they're so in tune with one another (to the extent that their performances merge into one on the albums), its nice to be able to clearly see who's playing/singing what.

Its definitely the best gig I've ever seen and it seems that lots of people feel the same way - there's a great review of the Manchester gig on the Guardian website here. The set-list from the Manchester show (accompanied by lots of great comments about the gig) is on Facebook here. I really hope that at least one of their shows from this tour has been recorded and will be released either as a CD or DVD! :)

The tour was to support the most recent Gillian Welch album, The Harrow & The Harvest, which was released this year (a whole eight years since the last album!) and its easily the best yet.

Gillian and David played a couple of tracks from the new album on Later with Jools Holland, including 'The Way it Goes' (although I think the version they did at Manchester was better!)...

But that's enough about the music, what I really wanted to talk about is craft-related! :D

When I bought my copy of The Harrow & The Harvest album, I was initially a bit flummoxed by the thick piece of printed card in the CD case where there is usually a little booklet (I'm a lyrics geek and love it when they're all in the booklet!) but a bit of research on the internet revealed it to be a hand-crafted letterpress printed piece of artwork.

And very impressive it is too...
Gillian Welch album cover

I already had Gillian and David pegged as the kind of people who appreciate things being done in a traditional, non-digital style, so it didn't surprise me to discover they were keen on traditional, handmade crafts like small-scale letterpress printing.

I was really pleased to find this video about the process involved in printing 100,000 little pieces of art for an album cover...

And then I found that Gillian and David had made a little video about how to coffee-stain your CD insert to make it the 'antiqued' darker shade that they'd initially hoped the card they used would be!

I never thought I'd see a Gillian Welch and David Rawlings craft video! :D

Anyway, another craft-related discovery came when I got my hands on a signed copy of The Harrow & The Harvest poster at the Manchester gig (I only just nabbed one, they were sold out by the interval!).

The poster is another lovely letterpress print...
Gillian Welch Harrow and Harvest poster
(The photo of it on my sofa doesn't really do it justice but I haven't had the chance to get it framed yet!).

This print was done at a different American company and I think I've tracked it down to one called Hatch Show Print in Nashville, which has been going since 1879.

This is a video about how they print these traditional-looking posters (Ade thinks they look like 'wanted' posters like you see in Westerns!) at Hatch Show Print...

I love the fact that cats are a big part of life at Hatch Show Print! :)

All the care and attention that went into the artwork for this wonderful album makes it worth waiting eight years for! :D

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