samedi 21 mai 2016

Dave Rawlings Machine - A Friend of a Friend (2009)

Je n'ai découvert Dave Rawlings Machine ni dans les Inrocks, ni dans Télérama, mais dans la bande-son de Inside Llewyn Davis, film plutôt ennuyeux des frères Couenne, mais certaines chansons reproduisaient le miracle de la bande-son de O'Brother, film plutôt réussi des frères Couenne.
Ce n'est qu'après toutes ces péripéties de comparaisons douteuses que je suis tombé sur l'article de Télérama. Je l'jure.

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.

Les frères Couenne (allégorie)

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