Sunday, January 12, 2014

"Pocahontas" - Performed by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Of all the versions of this Neil Young song which have been recorded I enjoy this one the most. It probably has more to do with the interaction of long time partners Gillian Welch and David Rawlings than anything else. The song itself is beautiful; full of imagery recounting the last days of the Indian Wars. I never have figured out the Marlon Brando verse and its relationship to the rest of the song, but somehow it all works out.

David Welch is one of the most underrated of guitarists. When you watch him you’ll notice that he uses his hip to steady his 1935 National guitar while he performs, particularly when playing lead. His whole body is inside of each note. And, that fret board is like a second home; while his ears picks up on any key changes, his fingers following instinctively.

For her part, Gillian Welch is one of the most gifted vocalists of her genre. Her haunting voice can bring new scope and meaning to anything she sings. Together the two are among my favorite musical performers.  I think it has to do with the intimacy between the two, which spills out unintentionally and becomes part of the performance.

Music is a force, just as love is. And when you love the music you perform; and the person you are performing with; you can take that music to new heights. Gillian Welch and David Rawlings prove that point time and time again.

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