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Sound Check

Oct 13 , 2011
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By Michael Swanger

Gillian Welch

“The Harrow & The Harvest”

Acony Records

Sample tracks

One of the most admired and loved voices of the Americana milieu, singer Gillian Welch, teams up with longtime collaborator David Rawlings to deliver one of the best acoustic albums of 2011, “The Harrow & The Harvest.” The duo met while studying at Berklee College of Music years ago, then moved to Nashville together where they have influenced a new generation of country and folk artists. All the years and miles they have spent together account for how the American Southern music songs on this album such as “Scarlet Town,” “The Way It Will Be,” “Six White Horses and “Silver Dagger” flow together like one unified voice. Welch and Rawlings intertwine their angelic voices and sparsely effective instrumentation (guitar, banjo, harmonica) with the greatest of ease, creating an album that is organic, timeless and inspiring.

(Gillian Welch performs Friday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. at Hoyt Sherman Theater. $35.) CV

Kim Richey

“Wreck Your Wheels”

Thirty Tigers

Sample tracks

Two-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Kim Richey has performed on The Grand Ole’ Opry and Austin City Limits, written several hit songs for performers like Trisha Yearwood and James Morrison, sung on albums by Ryan Adams and Shawn Colvin, and had her 2002 album “Rise” named “Alt-Country Album of the Year” in People magazine. Yet for all the accolades she has earned, she is deserving of more attention. With that said, discerning music fans should embrace her latest Americana album, “Wreck Your Wheels.” Why? Because fans of storytellers who possess a comforting voice and innate ability to sing songs that relate to people regarding love (“Wreck Your Wheels”), joy (“Once In Your Life”), the blues (“For A While”) and the facts of life (“Word to the Wise”) will appreciate what it has to offer.

(Kim Richey performs Friday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at The Lighthouse Concert Series at West Des Moines Christian Church. $10.) CV

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