Gillian Welch – Boots No. 2 – The Lost Songs, Vol. 3 (2020) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Gillian Welch – Boots No. 2 – The Lost Songs, Vol. 3 (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 46:19 minutes | 464 MB | Genre: Folk
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Acony Records

Volume 3 of Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs will come out in two weeks on November 13th. You can listen to two songs now, “Peace In The Valley” and “There’s A First Time For Everything.”

Unearthed from a cache of home demos and reel-to-reel recordings, Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs is the second release of archival music from the vault of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. This remarkable 48 song collection, spread over three volumes, was recorded between the making of Time (The Revelator) and Soul Journey. It is an intimate glimpse at the artist’s sketchbook, containing some lifelong themes as well as some flights of fancy. Volumes 1 & 2 were released in July and September respectively.

Working Days, John Steinbeck’s account of the time he spent writing and researching The Grapes of Wrath, offers an unusual glimpse into the daily labor of creative work. In bank-teller prose, the author of one of the most revered works of 20th century literature details the number of pages he churned out, the mood he was in, the changes he intended to make with subsequent drafts. It is, at best, a tedious read. But it makes a huge point about the unglamorous aspects of craft. As not just inspiration, but business. Like bricklaying. Or landscaping. It requires showing up every day, rolling up the sleeves and trusting that the routines and the effort will lead to something worth sharing.

What does this act of showing up every day sound like? One answer comes on the stupendous three-part collection Boots No. 2, which contains song demos from 2002 that were made rapidly by Gillian Welch and her partner David Rawlings to fulfill a publishing contract. After a tornado ripped through their Nashville studio in March, the two began sifting through years of tapes. They assembled (and quickly released) a set of poignant covers, and then began issuing this trove of austere, simply rendered originals recorded after the acclaimed Time (The Revelator).

Most of these songs on Vol. 3 are elegant miniatures, compact and sturdy and focused on a single idea expressed in just one or two crystalline verses. Some sound like they might have started out as exercises—there are tunes built on blues form, and an impossibly upbeat ode to long-haul driving (“Turn It Up”) and a somber minor-key observation about the latent menace of racial intolerance (“Peace In the Valley”) that seems eerily relevant to our present moment. Alongside those are truth-telling songs about the tension within relationships—one standout among several is the bracing “Strangers Again,” a sliver of a wisp of a song made profound by Welch’s plainspoken phrasing. It’s a song Welch fans might wish she’d developed further, with more verses. But that’s the nature of this collection, which nearly doubles the amount of songs on Welch’s five studio albums: It’s a chronicle of inspirations chased and captured, ideas forgotten and then found and finally, years later, released into the wild. – Tom Moon


01. Gillian Welch – Sin City
02. Gillian Welch – Turn It Up
03. Gillian Welch – Strangers Again
04. Gillian Welch – What Can I Do
05. Gillian Welch – Make Me Down A Pallet On Your Floor
06. Gillian Welch – City Girl
07. Gillian Welch – How’s About You
08. Gillian Welch – Changing Ground
09. Gillian Welch – If I Ain’t Going To Heaven
10. Gillian Welch – Peace In The Valley
11. Gillian Welch – Cowboy Rides Away
12. Gillian Welch – There’s A First Time For Everything
13. Gillian Welch – Wanted Man
14. Gillian Welch – Put Your Foot Upon The Path
15. Gillian Welch – Garden Of Love
16. Gillian Welch – Streets Of St. Paul