Welch plays Portland after releasing first new album in eight years

One of the great things about Portland is that there’s always something going on. It’s tough to be bored in Portland for too long, even if it’s the lazy Sunday after Thanksgiving, when a lot of folks are shopped-out and sleeping in.

Among the many art exhibits and musical performances within striking distance of the city today is a 7:30 p.m. show at The State Theatre featuring Gillian Welch, an oft-acclaimed artist whose album this year represents her first new studio material in eight years.

Welch, accompanied by her faithful guitarist partner David Rawlings, burst onto the scene in 1996 with “Revival,” which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album, then came back in 2001 with another Grammy finalist, “Time (The Revelator).”

She played on a couple songs and served as executive producer for the Grammy-winning soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou” in 2002 and returned the following year with her own “Soul Journey.”

After that, she stayed active on the live scene, but no albums came from the Welch camp until this year. She hit shelves again in June with “The Harrow & The Harvest,” and now she’s in Maine’s largest city to promote her triumphant return.

Welch once told The Australian newspaper she and Rawlings wrote enough material for “two or three records” during their eight-year studio hiatus, but the duo never liked the material enough to stamp it onto a disc — meaning the new material Portland listeners are due to take in tonight has been carefully selected as the cream of the crop out of almost a decade of Welch songwriting.



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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.