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Emmylou Harris says that Gillian Welch has “an old soul, one who knows the blue highways of the heart.” Leave it to Harris to hit that poetic nail on the head. Welch’s simple melodies and world-weary lyrics are not of this time; you get the impression that she’s an Appalachian sharecropper’s wife instead of the daughter of Los Angeles musicians who scored The Carol Burnett Show. Smitten by the old-timey music of the Carter Family and the Stanley Brothers, Welch—who contributed to the best-selling O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack—went to Massachusetts’ Berklee School of Music. While in Boston, she began playing with kindred soul/co-writer David Rawlings, who produced the tunes on their new disc Time (The Revelator), which Welch and Rawlings will no doubt show off in fine form tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $18.50. (703) 549-7500. (Buzz McClain)