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Welch's Lost Songs 2001-2003

Within a week of releasing a lockdown-inspired album, Gillian Welch has announced there are more releases in the wind.

This time it will be a number of previously unheard songs recorded between 2001 and 2003. There are 48 such recordings, collectively listed as Boots No2: The Lost Songs. They will be released in three albums, the first 16 tracks – titled Vol. 1 – will be out on July 31st.

It became clear in the past few days that Welch and musical partner David Rawlings had more material in store when two singles – “Strange Isabella” and “Mighty Good Book” suddenly surfaced on musical streaming sites.

The couple soon released a statement: “We stashed these recordings away years ago. Their shortcomings, real or imagined, technical or compositional, no longer seem bothersome today. Hearing them now is like seeing snapshots that captured moments the more formal portraits missed. So here we are hurrying them for release before the next tornado blows the whole shoebox away.”

The last sentence is hardly a throw-away line. In March, twin tornadoes tore through Nashville and raised the roof on the couple’s Woodland Studios.

The songs fill the gap between Welch’s 2001 third album Time (The Revelator) and the 2003 release Soul Journey.

If the soft “Strange Isabella” and old-time “Mighty Good Book” are any barometer, the unheard recordings will reflect a period when Welch and Rawlings were seeking to reinforce the authenticity of their Appalachian-style music and become rightfully regarded as roots musicians of substance. This time-frame of their career has already been superbly documented live in the 2002 release Music From The Revelator Collection (Live).

Welch and Rawlings’ most recent release – the first in their joint names – was a collection of ambient cover songs – All the Good Times - recorded at home on reel-to-reel tapes during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Paul Cutler

Editor - Crossroads Americana Music Appreciation


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