Soundscape: Post-Christmas Music Rebirth:

It’s December 26 and Christmas is over and the Pope was knocked over and you can start over now.

I had been waiting for Gillian Welch to come out with a new album and then her musical soul mate released one. It’s basically switching emphasis from Gillian Welch to Dave Rawlings, the guy who has always sang harmony and played amazing solos in her songs. The album has a refreshing, more manly twist on their style…with the cover “To Be Young” and hints of Old Crow Medicine Show in the background. He also covers “I Hear Them All,” a gospel-ish world song by the young rowdy group, but the song is sans harmonies and thumping banjos–it is only Rawlings’ voice and his guitar, which is much more fitting for the song’s feel.

I also have given Whispertown 2000, the first band to be signed on Gillian Welch’s label, Acony Records, another chance and I really like their songs “Old Times” and “103.” I saw this young group when they opened for Jenny Lewis in 2006, and they were fun in person but hard to like on CD when I tried to share them with friends. I think they have potential–the lead singer has good songwriting abilities. They just need to jump out of the indie pool they’re falling into because the quirky bad-sounding interludes like in “Lock and Key” aren’t going to stand up once this whole movement of flannel shirts and ugly glasses passes.

I signed up for Lala and it’s a lot more organized than my previous method of listening to new music (Myspace), and it’s a better way to find similar artists than Pandora. I recommend it!

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