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Bob Dylan’s genius was, in part, due to his ability to write new songs that felt both canonical and contemporary. The same is true of Gillian Welch, whose new album, The Harrow and the Harvest, features 10 new tunes that sound plucked from country-folk history but are timeless in their beauty, simplicity, and emotional depth. It took eight years to follow up 2003’s relatively fussy Soul Journey, as Welch and her co-writer, David Rawlings, struggled to compose songs that met their standards. But all that toiling was worth the harvest. Like 2001’s Time (The Revelator), this new LP features Welch and Rawlings’ seamless harmonies along with their acoustic guitars, banjos, harmonicas, and hand-claps. But old-timey back porch music rarely sounds as ruggedly of the moment as Welch’s deep, dark poems.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda. $33.