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John Paul Jones On Tour Now With Dave Rawlings Machine


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Fall Tour On Sale Now

Featuring members of Gillian Welch, Punch Brothers, Led Zeppelin, and a former member of Old Crow Medicine Show, the Fall 2013 Machine will provide a night of distinctive picking, high lonesome songs, and many other fine acoustic entertainments. All shows are now on sale. Asheville is SOLD OUT.

See you soon in the Southeast!

Wed 11/20 – Knoxville, TN – Bijou TheatreOn Sale Now

Thu 11/21 – Atlanta, GA – Variety PlayhouseOn Sale Now

Fri 11/22 – Asheville, NC – The Grey EagleSOLD OUT

Sun 11/24 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s CradleOn Sale Now

Mon 11/25 – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood TheatreOn Sale Now

Tue 11/26 – Athens, GA – Georgia TheatreOn Sale Now

Wed 11/27 – Birmingham, AL – Soundstage @ WorkplayOn Sale Now



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The latest Dave Rawlings Machine runs hard with help from John Paul Jones, Willie Watson, Paul Kowert and Gillian Welch User Rating:rating_star.pngrating_star.pngrating_star.pngrating_star.pngrating_star.png / 2 Written by Rusty Odom | Thursday, 21 November 2013

Welcome to the Machine

Dave Rawlings has brought his machine to Knoxville before, but never like this.

While he always brings an all-star cast with him, never before has Rawlings brought the star power that he has collected in the current makeup of this beautiful music machine.

The show’s billing was as intriguing as any I can remember. It read as follows, “Featuring members of Gillian Welch, Punch Brothers, Led Zeppelin, and a former member of Old Crow Medicine Show, the Machine will provide a night of distinctive picking, high lonesome songs, and many other fine acoustic entertainments.”

That prognostication was pretty spot on.

Knoxville is in exclusive company in terms of this outstanding lineup, as are the other six Southeastern cities that lay claim to this one-week tour. That lineup consists of Willie Watson, formerly of Old Crow Medicine Show, Paul Kowert, bassist from The Punch Brothers, Gillian Welch and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on mandolin.

There’s something special about seeing the first show of a tour, and when you’re dealing with the kind of talent that is in this collective, it’s even more extraordinary. While the professionalism never wavered, the show had the intimacy of a living room jam session. For those lucky enough to score tickets, the obvious wow is John Paul Jones, and for good reason. He has his own style on the mandolin that you won’t search hard to find a little Zep in, even on the grassiest of tunes. But the other members of this Americana co-op more than carry their weight. While Rawlings was calling the shots, he made it very clear that the show wasn’t about any particular member.


photo by Bill Foster

Watson periodically took his turn on lead vocals, often adding a bit of flair to the show. At one point, Welch and Rawlings remained onstage as a duo for a moving performance of “Sweet Tooth.” Jones seemed just fine adding backup vocals and picking away, and each song featured at least one big grin from the pioneer.

And while Kowert stayed in the background for most of the evening, he took a verse on The Band’s, “The Weight,” the group’s final song before the lights came up,

The Machine covered a lot of ground on the way to the encore. Included within the band’s myriad of covers were “To Be Young,” which Rawlings co-wrote with Ryan Adams, CCR’s “Midnight Special” and Bob Dylan’s “Queen Jane Approximately.”


There were a couple of mashups in the set list as well. One of the dual-songs saw Bright Eyes’ “Method Acting” slowly creak its way into Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer.” Rawlings learned to play the former while on a short tour with Bright Eyes after Conor Oberst called him to fill in as a last second replacement in late 2007.

Earlier in the set “I Hear Them All” paved the way for “This Land is Your Land.”

There were many highlights and there wasn’t a single moment that stood out as boring or lackluster. Rawlings seemed to have even more fervor than normal. At times throughout the night, it was hard to tell if he was holding his guitar up or if it was the other way around. And as Rawlings told the crowd to bear with him for his best Robert Plant, the first chords of “Going to California” were met with wild cheers and laughter from the most engaged crowd Knoxville has seen in some time.

Everyone in the room wanted to hear at least one Led Zeppelin song, and as John Paul Jones laid into his signature licks, all was right with a show that couldn’t have been much better.


John Paul Jones (left) with Dave Rawlings, photo by Bill Foster


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Rawlings: Ad hoc show, top talent

By Courtney Devores
Posted: Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013
While most bands would slap the fact that it had a member of Led Zeppelin in its ranks on fliers, posters and Facebook, Dave Rawlings is cagey about the mystery lineup of his and musical partner Gillian Welch’s short, pre-Thanksgiving Southeastern tour as the Dave Rawlings Machine.

“When is this article going to run?” he asks at the beginning of our conversation. “Because the lineup hasn’t been announced yet.”

So far the Dave Rawlings Machine, which plays Neighborhood Theatre Monday, is advertised as Americana’s reigning royal couple (you rarely meet young roots musicians who aren’t influenced by them) with members of Led Zeppelin, the Punch Brothers and a former member of Old Crow Medicine Show. It’s not hard to figure out which Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is joining them on tour.

“Anybody who really wanted to figure out this lineup probably could have,” laughs Rawlings. John Paul Jones has sat in with him and Welch on tour in the UK. Willie Weeks (who left Old Crow in 2011 and has previously played with the duo) and Punch Brothers’ bassist Paul Kowert round out the band.

Jones was busy focusing on writing an opera when Rawlings approached him with the idea. At first he wasn’t game.

“He called back two days later and said, ‘You know, that sounds like a good bit of fun.’ We found a window where everyone was available and put it on the books pretty recently,” says Rawlings. The show was just announced last month, but Rawlings doesn’t like to plan too far in advance. “I drive booking agents and business people crazy.”

The show will touch on Rawlings’ 2009 album, “A Friend of a Friend,” which he and Welch made with friends as an outlet for songs that Rawlings sang and as a way to get back into recording mode before Welch’s 2011 album. Perhaps more importantly, the tour will also be a unique concert experience for both the crowd and the band, who, as of Monday, had not yet rehearsed.

“I love that I can put together a group of people that have never played together and with no rehearsal. ... There’s a beautiful thing about this kind of music that we’ll be able to play a show for people and they’ll be able to experience what we’re experiencing – the fun of finding your way through music and everyone contributing what they do using this common language,” Rawlings explains. “I tried to put together an evening of music like we would if these people got together at a house.”

Welch and Rawlings are long past playing house shows. He is best known for his impeccable guitar picking and ample contributions to music recorded under Welch’s name. He’s produced, written and recorded with Old Crow, Welch and Ryan Adams. In 2012 the Americana Music Association named him instrumentalist of the year. (Welch was named artist of the year.)

The flexibility of the Machine allows the couple to shake things up live while not disappointing Welch’s fans.

“When you have four or five records out, by the time you work through everything people want to hear there isn’t much space,” he says. “(The Machine) has released nine songs, so there’s plenty of room for shaking things up.”



    WHEN: 8 p.m. Monday.

    WHERE: Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St.

    TICKETS: $25.

    DETAILS: 704-942-7997



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Dave Rawlings Machine Tuesday, Nov. 26 @ Georgia Theatre

By Dan Mistich

Until recently, Dave Rawlings was mostly a behind-the-scenes type of guy, working as a producer, co-writer and session musician alongside artists like Ryan Adams and Bright Eyes. In 2009 Rawlings entered the spotlight with the folky A Friend of a Friend, released under the name Dave Rawlings Machine. The critically acclaimed album included original compositions, songs Rawlings had worked on with others in the past and canonical classic rock covers. In addition to bringing along his longtime collaborator Gillian Welch on this current tour, the latest all-star iteration of the Machine includes Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, members of Punch Brothers and a former member of Old Crow Medicine Show. This rare lineup is only hitting the Southeast for a few dates, so don’t miss out.

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Dave Rawlings Machine Tour Kicks Off In Knoxville

Written by Jason Leahey November 21st, 2013 at 5:07 pm


On November 20th, the Dave Rawlings Machine kicked off its seven-date tour with “Will the Circle be Unbroken” and ended with “The Weight.” They were appropriate bookends for a tour that looks overwhelmingly to be about the pleasure of American song and music making.

“Everybody flew into Nashville last night, so the band’s been together about 24 hours,” Gillian Welch, Rawling’s perennial other half, said from the stage of Knoxville’s Bijou Theater. Rawlings chimed in, “So it’s not as well-oiled a machine as maybe it could be.” But being a well-oiled machine isn’t the point of this tour at all. This is find-the-flow, get-in-the-groove music making. A celebration of the joy of song. That Wednesday night, it was magnificent.

Vintage Cover Story – Gillian Welch and David Rawlings: Welcome To The Machine

All of the machine parts worked together smoothly, of course. Everybody who was on stage is a virtuoso. In addition to Rawlings and Welch, the machine is comprised of former Old Crow member Willie Watson on guitar and banjo, Punch Brother Paul Kowert on upright, and the mighty John Paul Jones on mandolin. These are folks who know their instruments intimately and passionately. But you could tell by the second song that everyone’s virtuosity was going to be transcended.

Over two long sets, the band was a single star, not a backup group for Rawlings. The five-part harmonies were subtle and tight, Jones holding down a low bass end, the individual voices sometimes becoming indecipherable from the whole. Watson and Welch, each dressed for Little House on the Prairie, sang lead on a handful of tunes, including “Wayside” and Charley Jordan’s “Keep it Clean,” Welch’s voice haunted or belting, Watson’s a down-home call. Jones played mandolin like you’d expect a musician formed in the riffage of Zeppelin to play, frequently killing runs along the neck, occasionally twining leads around Rawlings’ guitar work. And you’re simply not going to find a better acoustic guitar player these days than Rawlings. The man can shred.


We heard Rawlings-Welch songs and a Flatt & Scruggs number, a Ryan Adams cover and “Cortez the Killer” threaded into a cover of Bright Eyes’ “Method Acting.” “Sweet Tooth” was as magical as anything I’ve ever witnessed on stage. “Bells of Harlem” was gentle and lilting and lovely. A big white grin kept breaking out of the shadows beneath Rawlings cowboy hat and the guy repeatedly turned to his friends with the head-wagging enthusiasm of a puppy. The atmosphere in the theater was, more than any recent show I can recall, an atmosphere of fun, and everything coming from that stage felt deeply true.

And the audience gave it back. There were at least five standing ovations, sing-alongs, and by the end women screaming and dancing across the carpet at the back of the house. “I Hear Them All” segued into “This Land is Your Land” — the band including the oft-ignored verses about The People being relegated to the relief office and the defiance that wells up at a No Trespassing sign—and the air went goosebump-electric, the house knowing those verses, loving their preservation, and screaming, whooping, raising fists. The audience as well as the musicians were people who know their roots, who are moved in spirit by the music and the message, and that is a deeply gratifying community to be part of. When Rawlings finally introduced Jones near the end, the roar was deafening, and during an encore of “Queen Jane Approximately” the world seemed giddy. We demanded more, and so the Machine whipped out “Going to California” and “The Midnight Special” before trading lyrics on that final cover of The Band. There was legacy and lore wrapped up in Wednesday’s show, from those in the seats as well as those on the stage. It made me feel lucky to be alive. Long live rock and roll.


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Live: Dave Rawlings Machine cranks up the Cradle

Posted by Spencer Griffith on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Dave Rawlings Machine
Cat's Cradle, Carrboro
Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013

Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch have played Cat’s Cradle both as a duo and in full-band Dave Rawlings Machine form, and they’ve been a treat to take in at such an intimate venue, regardless of the format. But Sunday night’s show—one of just seven on a Dave Rawlings Machine tour of the Southeast—upped the ante with a star-studded lineup.


Photo by Michael Rank

David Rawlings fronting his Machine at Cat's Cradle.

Joining Rawlings and Welch were John Paul Jones on mandolin, the Punch Brothers’ Paul Kowert on bass and former Old Crow Medicine Show member Willie Watson on guitar, fiddle and banjo. A cast of that caliber—particularly Led Zeppelin member Jones, who’s accustomed to rooms far bigger than the 750-capacity Cradle—might have overshadowed Rawlings and Welch, but the players proved to be vital cogs in the Machine.

Although this iteration of the Machine has been together less than a week including rehearsal time, you wouldn’t know it from listening to them. Jones was an admirable instrumental foil to guitarist Rawlings; each played with restraint when appropriate but shredded a solo when it came time to let it rip. They often wound their leads around one another’s playing, using each other as a springboard. Watson and Kowert excelled when they broke out the bows for slower numbers, while longtime Uncle Earl and Toubab Krewe fiddler Rayna Gellert sat in on several numbers and fit right in.

Save for “How’s About You,” the group worked through the entirety of Rawlings’ 2009 debut A Friend of a Friend. The golden chorus of “Ruby” was radiant with four-part harmony, while the medley of Bright Eyes’ “Method Acting” and Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” moved from a showcase of the perfect intertwining of Rawlings and Welch’s voices to an extended instrumental workout. The hymnlike “I Hear Them All”—performed as a trio with Rawlings, Welch and Watson—turned from a reverent sing-along to a rallying cry as it transitioned into Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and back, receiving one of the night’s loudest ovations.


Photo by Michael Rank

John Paul Jones joins in on mandolin during the David Rawlings Machine show.

Performances billed as the Dave Rawlings Machine typically turn out as more of a musical revue, and this one was no different. Watson and Welch each took multiple turns on lead vocals, the latter delivering two of the strongest songs in her catalog: “Look at Miss Ohio” and “Wayside/Back in Time.” Kowert also had a featured vocal on “He Will Set Your Fields on Fire,” an old gospel number.

Throughout the night, the group pulled largely from an updated American songbook. Bookended by “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” and “The Weight,” the show—which spanned a pair of hourlong sets, plus two encores that added nearly another 30 minutes—included traditional classics such as “Turn Your Radio On,” “Stewball”) and “Midnight Special,” as well as tunes by songwriting legends Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard.

It wasn’t until Jones finished his solo in Dylan’s “Queen Jane Approximately” for second set’s finale that the good-humored Rawlings finally introduced him, the audience erupting appropriately in a true rock ’n’ roll moment. Rawlings led off the first encore by singing the Zeppelin classic “Going to California,” giving Jones and his mandolin another moment in the spotlight, even if he was clearly content to play in the shadows. It was evidence of the magic between Rawlings, Welch and their Machine mates that the crowd seemed to prefer that arrangement just fine.


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Live review: Dave Rawlings Machine, Neighborhood Theatre (11/25/2013)

Posted by Pat Moran on Tue, Nov 26, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Dave Rawlings Machine
Neighborhood Theatre
Nov. 25, 2013



Dave Rawlings Machine in Knoxville, Tenn.

"John Paul Jones!" Dave Rawlings grinned as he pointed across the stage to the mandolin virtuoso and legendary Led Zeppelin member. "He's right there!"

It was a typical display of Rawlings' warm and quirky humor before a packed house at the Neighborhood Theatre, but it was also window on Rawlings' open heart and infectious enthusiasm. An inspired, incendiary guitarist, Rawlings is no slouch in the hot-shit-instrumentalist category, yet he simply could not believe his good fortune to be sharing the stage with such deft and simpatico musicians.

Rawlings' good fortune also shined on the appreciative, sometimes raucous, crowd. They were treated to two full sets Monday night. Highlights included Jones' lyrical, bluesy chops on the Charley Jordan cover "Keep It Clean," where the former Zep man's mandolin runs intertwined with Rawlings' nimble flat picking. Their muscular interplay and delicate filigree echoed "Bron y Aur Stomp" amid the old-timey tune.

Yet Jones was not the only shiny cog in Rawlings' string-driven machine. With earthy and witty good cheer, long-time musical partner Gillian Welch greeted the audience. "I gotta make an apology," she confided, "This band is having the worst bad hair day ever." Welch blamed the band's previous stop on their tour. "It must be that Chapel Hill water." Yet Welch's bad hair didn't hamper her dusky luxurious voice which turned clear and powerful on the Dylanesque "Wayside," and high-spirited and harmonious on the down-home rave-up "To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)."

Throughout the evening, Welch and Rawlings dueted as one. It seemed that these two singers could feel each other, adjusting telepathically on their harmonies.

On any other team, Welch would be MVP, yet the ace combo was rounded out by bassist Paul Kowert and guitar and fiddle maestro Willie Watson. Heeding Rawlings' exhortation to "make this one burn," Kowert stepped up to the mic. His low, sub-woofer voice propelled the band's' off-the-rails take on Bill Monroe's rollicking mountain hymn, "He Will Set Your Fields on Fire." Watson also grabbed the vocal spotlight, encouraging the crowd to sing along to "Screwball." His powerhouse belting pumped the quirky traditional with demented corkscrew humor.

Despite the loose-limbed, hand-crafted charm of the acoustic Machine's presentation, this was a crack crew, imbuing their mix of covers, trad tunes and Welch's back-catalog with the slipknot precision of the best jazz combos.

Despite the simple hoe-down origins of some of their material, Rawlings' band stretched out on otherworldly improvisations before snapping back like a rubber band to bring it all back home. As a front man, Rawlings was a sunny-natured ball of energy. Live, his vocals were full and rounded, and less reedy than they sound on record.

On the Dylan cover "Queen Jane Approximately," Rawlings channeled ornery old Bob's cadence, but was a much better singer. It was on the covers that these ace players truly shined. Conor Oberst's "Method Acting" became a soul-baring ballad before free-falling into a fiery rendition of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" which left the Neighborhood audience temporarily stunned.

An impassioned medley joined Rawlings' and Old Crow Medicine Show's "I Hear Them All" to Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." In the hands of Rawlings' crew, the Guthrie chestnut transformed into a dramatic barn-burner, truly earning its unofficial status as the alt National Anthem. Rawlings' inclusion of the tune's usually excised left-leaning verses could make property rights obsessed Libertarians a touch uneasy.

As the band returned for an encore, Welch assured the crowd that they would approve of their song choice. She was right. The crowd went wild for their rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Going to California" which leapt from delicate madrigal to hypnotic acoustic psychedelia. Rawlings hit the tune's challenging high notes, and the mics switched to echo effect as all hands jumped in on the vertiginous bridge.

It was entirely fitting that this evening of perfect yet quirky and thought-provoking Americana was capped with a rambunctious take on The Band's "The Weight." As Rawlings, Welch, Kowert and Watson traded off the rolling, rough-hewn verses, it felt - for this evening at least - that Rawlings' well-oiled machine had taken the load off our shoulders by lightening our hearts.


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Unbelievable almost. Three miles or so from my house. Venue not far from where I met Sam and Dandu when Rob/SSS played here on an August night.

JPJ, I couldn't pull the strings or twist the needed arms that I could make the show. Enjoy your stay here. You're more than welcome to enjoy Thanksgiving at my house tomorrow if you're still in town, and I'll provide your transportation. I'm preparing the feast along with my wife.. Very small affair. My wife, my 88 year old father, and me. Will celebrate around noon or shortly after. Very casual.

Don't hesitate to make it happen if you're interested.

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I saw the show in Birmingham last evening, and the news accounts posted above are no exaggeration: it was a phenomenal show. Dave Rawlings is an absolutely incredible guitar player and a damn good singer. In fact, the entire band was on fire, and I say that as someone who cannot stand folk music.

Of course, I went to see John Paul Jones, and he was--no surprise--great throughout the evening.

I don't think I'll top any professional reviews of the show that'll be coming out, so I'll just add this bit I found funny. At the end of Going to California, Rawlings joked that his hair wasn't long enough to play the song well. As a very quick aside, Jones turned to him and put on a Plant posture--the one in which Plant would hold his elbow at his side, extend his forearm up, and extend his hand palm up. (I think readers of this forum will know what I'm referring to). If you blinked you missed it, but I thought it was hilarious that that posture was what first came to Jones' mind after Rawlings' comment.

I'm looking forward to any video of this show that may surface. As expected, there were a hell of a lot of people recording.

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JPJ is a sly devil! It sounds like it was a terrific concert. Thanks for sharing your impressions with us.

As a very quick aside, Jones turned to him and put on a Plant posture--the one in which Plant would hold his elbow at his side, extend his forearm up, and extend his hand palm up. (I think readers of this forum will know what I'm referring to). If you blinked you missed it, but I thought it was hilarious that that posture was what first came to Jones' mind after Rawlings' comment....

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I hope they come to Dallas. I've never in a million years would have thought JPJ would be playing mandolin on Cortez The Killer ( my favorite Neil Young & Crazy Horse song ).......I would very much like to experience that live.

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Thank you all for such wonderful contribution, The Legendary John Paul Jones and His passionate creativity ever present here..makes me feel proud that I belonged to that generation lead by such visionary artist...Jabe, and Grits'n'Gravy thanks for such exceptional details, both of you so fortunate to see this amazing creativity. loved all of the songs posted here, I can only wish for this, I long to see the Legendary John Paul Jones with any of his chosen artists...

Some More images ....


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