The Rawlings-Welch co-writes, in particular, feel akin to the long traveling songs off Obsolete (though only one of these songs clocks in at over five minutes; the rest are shorter): There's the familiar train motion of opener "Midnight Train," which introduces circular themes of time and travel along with a sense of locomotion, and the slower, more soaring "Airplane," which conveys sad tension between life and transcendence. In the latter, a driver imagines what he could do if he could fly: "I'd fly over every sorrowful thing," Rawlings sings over a chorus of sky-high strings, while Haas's earthy fiddle tugs towards the middle ground. It's also a good example of the nearly dripping fluidity of Rawlings' guitar playing. The duo also revisit their love of heavier Neil Young-style roots rock on the eerily CSNY-like "Cumberland Gap," the two trading off lead vocals and harmonizing on a tune that Rawlings started and Welch finished.
The songs that Rawlings wrote on his own (half this time) tend to be shorter, lighter and more old-timey — "Come on Over to My House," for example, or the silly, infectiously semi-nonsensical banjo tune "Money Is the Meat in the Coconut," (perhaps the next classic pass-the-hat tune?).
Rawlings turns a wry gaze appreciatively towards women for both "Yup" (a story centred on a woman who kicks the Devil's ass and gets sent back from hell) and "Good God a Woman," the Judeo-Christian creation myth updated with a sing-along chorus.
Rawlings' and Welch's music always feels like a return visit, and Poor David's Almanack in particular seems perfectly suited to tack up on your wall and consult at home. (Acony)