The Dave Rawlings Machine & Gillian Welch Live at The Beacon Theatre NYC 11/11/2015

The Dave Rawlings Machine plowed through two sets and three encores of music brimming with pure passion for the spirit of Americana on November 11 at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. That genuine energy spread through the audience like wildfire and at one point literally broke out into an old time sing along. Most notable in a night of numerous memorable moments were the harmonies. Sweet floating four part harmonies led by Gillian Welch’s floral delivery made almost every song a near miracle to hear. Dave Rawlings played a mesmerizing form of original acoustic lead guitar that magically blends bluegrass, blues and rock into one sound that ebbed and flowed like untiring ocean waves. Gillian Welch exuded an irrepressible joy so authentic that it is impossible to imagine her doing anything other than performing. Her voice was full like the moon but her instinct for Americana was the sky, and communicated an all encompassing innate sensibility. Brittany Haas of Crooked Still offered a flawless fiddle that exhibited her intuitive understanding and passion for each of Rawlings’ songs. Her style mirrored his predilection for merging musical influences and in her hands the fiddle became birdlike, warbling its own individually unique call. Guitarist/fiddler Willie Watson and bassist Paul Kowert of the Punch Brothers added vibrant color with their respective talents as musicians and vocalists. Notably Watson, with his unique singing voice, was able to break down the barrier between the musicians on stage and the audience, stirring them into an enthusiastic sing along. But the audience had already been deeply moved, most likely due to the simple fact that the five musicians appeared to be having tremendous fun. Through most songs Rawlings was barely able to contain his exuberance and broke out into repeated full grins that emphasized his deep love for the music he works so hard to perfect. The concert included DRM originals, stunning covers of traditional Americana including “This Land Is Your Land” and a dreamy, droning version of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” that was followed by a set ending “Queen Jane” by Bob Dylan. Welch included her own “Wayside/Back In Time” and “Look At Miss Ohio.” The second encore was a riveting rendition of The Band’s timeless “The Weight” followed by an a capella presentation of the traditional “Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby.” The band continue their east coast swing and anyone within proximity would be advised to experience the magic of the Machine.