released Nov 17th
from the album - Sweet Tooth
YouTube - Gillian Welch & David Rawlings - Sweet Tooth (new song) - No Depression
David Rawlings is a guitarist, songwriter, producer, and singer—mostly in that order—who plies his trade on a 1935 Epiphone Olympic, on which he's gained a devoted following for getting more action out of the small archtop guitar than most guitarists get out of modern electrics. Rawlings first came to prominence in 1996 with the release of musical partner Gillian Welch's debut album, Revival. He and Welch met while studying together at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Together they crafted an old-timey blend of country, folk, and blues, built around Rawlings' exceptional guitar picking and Welch's haunting vocals. In 1998, Rawlings and Welch teamed up again on Hell Among the Yearlings, which like their first effort was produced by T-Bone Burnett. In 2000 Rawlings and Welch joined Ryan Adams on the latter's solo debut, Heartbreaker. The album opens with an argument between Rawlings and Adams concerning a Morrissey song and is followed by the lively "To Be Young (is to be sad, is to be high)," which Adams and Rawlings wrote together. The two also co-wrote "Touch, Feel & Lose," which appears on Adams' 2001 follow-up album, Gold. That same year saw Rawlings make his first foray into producing. He replaced Burnett as producer for he and Welch's third album, Time (The Revelator) and again produced their fourth, 2003's Soul Journey. In 2004 he produced Old Crow Medicine Show's commercial debut O.C.M.S. and contributed his guitar work to the album's finale "Wagon Wheel". He even toured with the band to help promote the album in guitar and banjo player Critter Fuqua's absence. Two years later, Rawlings produced the band's follow-up, Big Iron World, sharing writing credits on nearly half of the album's songs. In 2007 Rawlings contributed to Bright Eyes album Cassadaga and the following year he continued his relationship with Old Crow Medicine Show, co-writing "Methamphetamine" with Ketch Secor.Rawlings and Welch began playing live shows with various musician friends in 2006 under the moniker The David Rawlings Machine, featuring Rawlings, for the first time as the front man. That experiment led to the 2009 debut under that moniker of A Friend of a Friend, released on his and Welch's Acony Records label.
Ironically, the most telling line on Dave Rawlings' first album as a frontman comes from one of the few tracks he didn't write. On his version of the Bright Eyes song Method Acting, imagine a more direct explanation of A Friend of a Friend's genesis. Singer/guitarist/songwriter/producer Rawlings has worked with Bright Eyes and Old Crow Medicine Show in the past, and members of both bands return the favor by appearing here, but of course he's best-known for being Gillian Welch's musical foil throughout her career. After a decade-and-a-half spent as the shadowy figure in the background, chiming in with those reedy harmonies and concise guitar licks on demand, Rawlings is long overdue for this solo debut. While he has hidden light under a proverbial bushel, he hasn't been concealing any unexpected predilections — the overall approach here is pretty much in line with that of the albums he's made with Welch, which makes sense, considering that he was the producer on half of those. The biggest difference is a slightly more expanded sonic palette, a result of Rawlings bringing his aforementioned buddies on board, in addition to Tom Petty's ivory-tickler Benmont Tench and of course, longtime singing partner Welch. But even though a string section pops up on a couple of tunes, A Friend of a Friend is essentially a low-key, acoustic-based Americana outing that feels more like a 21st century version of the early-‘70s Laurel Canyon cowboy aesthetic than anything else. The old, new, borrowed and blue song selection is balanced to present a quintessential picture of where Rawlings is coming from; he tackles Ryan Adams and Old Crow tunes he co-wrote, covers cohorts Bright Eyes as well as inspirations Neil Young and Jesse Fuller, and rounds things out with a batch of new Rawlings/Welch compositions. And while he doesn't exactly adopt an in-your-face approach to the leading-man role, preferring to become part of the powerful collective he's assembled, Rawlings proves himself fully capable of taking the reins and leading this horse wherever he wants it to go.
1 Ruby Rawlings, Welch 4:54
2 To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High) Adams, Rawlings 3:48
3 I Hear Them All Rawlings, Secor 2:27
4 Method Acting/Cortez the Killer Oberst, Young 10:20
5 Sweet Tooth Nagler, Rawlings, Welch 5:20
6 How's About You Rawlings, Welch 3:54
7 It's Too Easy Rawlings, Welch 3:08
8 Monkey and the Engineer Fuller 3:38
9 Bells of Harlem Rawlings, Welch 4:07