Folk & Country 2011: 16 Best Albums

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Folk & Country 2011: 16 Best Albums
6. Gillian Welch The Harrow & the Harvest (Acony)
Welch may have taken the risk of vacating her Americana country-folk throne by taking eight years between records, but the superb The Harrow & The Harvest found her right back at the top of her game. Her eloquent if sometimes bleak narratives make a perfect soundtrack for these recessionary days, and that clear as a mountain stream voice has never sounded better. The decision to record live off-the-floor with her constant creative comrade Dave Rawlings also proved an astute artistic decision. The album was brought to compelling life in the duo's Toronto show, a highlight of the year's concert calendar. During Welch's absence from the recording spotlight, a plethora of rootsy songstresses attempted to fill the void, but she remains Queen Gillian.
Kerry Doole

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