Recently, country music acquired a new convert: The Decemberists. Having long been indie-rock heroes with a reputation for releasing records with abnormally wonderful songwriting and a flare for the literary, their 2011 efforts The King Is Dead and Long Live the King (EP) crossed into my camp, i.e., old time country music. Recorded in an old barn in the Pacific Northwest with Americana queen Gillian Welch singing background and front man Colin Meloy touting a prominent harmonica, the Decemberists turned heads, especially within the Americana community. As is bound to happen when the great Gillian Welch graces you with her voice, The King Is Dead seemed to be more than just another indie-pop band trying to “get back to their roots.” The efforts appeared genuine, and Meloy would prove his sincerity.
It turns out Gillian Welch was not just a hired hand in the project, but would stick around for performances on Austin City Limits, The Tonight Show, and a host of live shows