David Rawlings: Poor David’s Almanack – Gillian Welch’s partner tells his own story

Poor David's Almanack
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Artist: David Rawlings
Genre: Singer / Songwriter
Label: Agony

The measure of this impressive album is that it is the first of Rawlings's three solo albums where the listener doesn't immediately yearn for the thrilling lead voice of partner Gillian Welch. She is there, of course, cowriting five of the 10 tracks, her duets/harmonies everywhere. Rawlings relies on her voice, and that of label stablemate Willie Watson, to flesh out his reedy voice to add warmth and weight.

They achieve this in spades but, equally, Rawlings has never sounded as present or as full of character. The 10 tracks give him lots of scope, from the square dance jollity of Money Is the Meat in the Coconut to the Neil Young-influenced Cumberland Gap in which Rawlings showcases his singular guitar skills. Lindsey Button is deep and resonant, Yup full of affectionate playfulness, as is Good God a Woman.

And downsides? The irritating strings on Airplane.