Tag Archives: Gillian Welch

Mid-week Mixtape Redux: Jack Carty

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One of the great delights of hosting a radio program like In The Pines is that I get to talk with a lot of musicians about their craft, as well as find out what songs/ artists/ albums make them tick. As a lifelong sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Song Disorder (that would be – the repeated listening to one song over and over and over and over, so as to get inside and know it and breathe it) I am fascinated to learn the songs that other songwriters have an enduring affection for. With that in mind, I’m reviving a long forgotten but much loved section of the blog that asks songwriters to write about five of their favourite tunes: The Mid-week Mixtape. 
 
Our first contributor is an impressive young troubadour from Sydney, Australia: Jack Carty. He writes beautiful,  thoughtful folk songs with the slightest hint of country thrown in for good measure. His latest album, Break Your Own Heart is, literally, a heartbreaker. 
 
Here is Jack performing the album’s title track:
 
 
And here is the mix he kindly put together for In The Pines this week. Cue heartbreak (again). 
 
The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us! – Sufjan Stevens
 
I can’t even remember how I found out about Sufjan Stevens. But it was sometime in 2008 or early 2009 and I remember listening to the album Illinois every time I could for the next year solid. I love the instrumentation and the epic scope of the arrangements. It’s bombastic but still classy and so full of feeling. I don’t think there is anywhere on the record that this is is better exhibited than right here… Gotta love the counterpoint.
 
 
Left & Leaving – The Weakerthans.
I first heard this song on a live album recorded at The Burton Cummings Theatre in their home town of Winnepeg, Manitoba. It has one of the most biting lyrics I have ever heard and John K Samson’s voice always sounds really sincere to me. He uses amazing imagery to describe his inner and outer environment in a really engaging and moving way. It’s so sad, but so resigned… “I wait in four/four time, count yellow highway lines, that you’re relying on to lead you home” – that line has swum around in my head for days at a time.
 
 
Gillian Welch – Wrecking Ball
I love pretty much everything Gillian Welch does. This track has so much attitude (from the sloppily played drums and fuzzbox guitars to the scratchy fiddle soloing in the right channel throughout its entirety) that it would be cool even if it didn’t have one of the best journey(wo)man lyrics I ever heard. She makes it sound easy, like she isn’t even trying, it’d almost be frustrating if it wasn’t so good.
 
 
Elliott Smith – Pitseleh
I love the way this song is simultaneously filled with so much sadness and so much love. It drips with doubt, loneliness, pain and an honest, quiet, beautiful affection. I have always loved the way Elliott seems to play the guitar like you would a piano, with a heavy emphasis on a constantly moving and repeated “bass line”  underneath delicate ornamentations on the higher strings. It seems to lend a timeless, almost baroque feel to an already gorgeously timeless and moving sentiment. This song has helped me through a lot.
 
 
Bright Eyes – Classic Cars
Connor Oberst’s ultra poetic turn of phrase, Mike Mogis’ guitar flourishes, a rad bass line, Hammond organ, honky-tonk piano, a great story, some questionable backing vocals and most of all those buildups in the chorus! The first time I heard this I listened to it 5 times in a row, the opening stanza of the opening verse had me hooked. It is delicate, angry, political, upbeat and incredibly deep all at once. It’s a classic, man.
 
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Over & Out, Autumn: Post Pines May 31st

The Cowboy & The Lady

Walking home in the pissing rain last night it felt strange to think that we hadn’t yet reached winter in Sydney. My cowboy boots have been soaked for days. My hair has been a windswept mess for weeks. A recent trip to Canada’s East Coast prepped me for the unseasonable autumn cold, though my uniform of floral dresses and opaques and not much else would suggest otherwise. My drinking habits have been more of a revelation. I haven’t drunk white wine for almost a month. It’s strictly red wine and dark ales and cinnamon whiskey. And listening habits… well, here’s at look at what has leaked across the airwaves.

This week on Pines we explored the very new and the very old and a few songs in-between. Aside from brief sixties flirtations via Lee Hazlewood and Anne-Margret, the nostalgia fest of last week (on account of Bob Dylan’s birthday) was mostly swept aside for more contemporary sounds. And so it was that we slow-danced into the program with one of the more pensive tracks from New Orleans based Hurray For The Riff’s ‘I Know You’. It’s an album track and therefore impossible to find online but if you want a taster of the their sound, try this on for size:

Hurray For The Riff Raff, Too Much Of A Good Thing

From perhaps the best kept secret in Louisiana onto a band who are more or less the most popular folkies on the planet, Fleet Foxes. All beards, all harmonies, all the time. Here is their recent performance on Jools Holland. Check out Robin Pecknold’s sweet Gibson. I don’t care how cute they all are, it’s the guitar I’m lusting about.

The latest offering from sisters/brother trio Kitty, Daisy & Lewis helped to break up what was close to becoming an overly earnest program. The trio wooed Australian audiences in January and are set to be back here a little later this year following the release of their latest album, Smoking In Heaven.

But… never one to stay with upbeat sounds for too long, we also heard an old mournful favourite from the fantastic Gillian Welch in the form of ‘ Time (The Revelator)’. I had the fear that her contribution to The Decemberists single ‘Down By The Water’ might be her only foray into new sounds for 2011, however, it’s been confirmed that Welch will release a new album on June 28. The album is called ‘The Harrow & The Harvest’. I’m pretty much counting down the days.

I haven’t been able to play this next song on Pines on account of it never having been officially released, but if you’re a Gillian fan and you haven’t heard ‘Throw Me A Rope/ The Way It Would Be’ prepare for some achin’ and breakin’. Complete with a Townes Van Zandt mention at the end…

And that pretty much wrapped it. However it must be said, although I only played Lee Hazlewood and Ann Margret’s spectacular ‘You Turned My Head Around’ once, I must have thought about it a thousand times this past week. So in love.

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Time for some Old Crow Medicine

After months on the road as part of the alt-country wet dream that is Dave Rawlings Machine, the boys from Old Crow Medicine Show are giving up what could be the world’s sweetest old-time/bluegrass tour bus for a stint on the road on their lonesome in Australia.

It’s sad news for Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch, who will no doubt miss the fine contribution the Old Crow gang have made to the band over the past twelve months. But it’s great news for Australian fans of OCMS. What’s that you say? A second tour here in just under a year?

I spoke to the band’s frontman Ketch Secor this week about his newfound role in the ‘machine’, old school vs new school country and that ol’ man who so many call their biggest influence, Bobby Dylan.

The Old Crow Medicine collaboration with Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch for Dave Rawlings Machine is one of the finest things to happen to Americana for quite some time and it’s a damn shame we won’t be seeing them live here soon as well. In the meantime though, there are quite a few good videos of the band playing songs from the Machine debut A Friend of A Friend online inlcuding this version of the Ryan Adams/ Dave Rawlings co-write ‘To Be Young Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High’.

Australian tour dates for OCMS can be found here.

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