A Very Fresh Machine

An undeniably powerful engine of sound

Dave Rawlings Machine
Dave Rawlings Machine

If it wasn’t self-described, machinery would seem too rough or inorganic a metaphor for the harmony, improvisation and trust that comprises the Dave Rawlings Machine, but the synergy among members —especially between Rawlings and Gillian Welch — makes for an undeniably powerful engine of sound.

The music of the Machine pays ancestral respect to the folk tradition, with its emotive lyricism and symbiotic musicality. Often having not rehearsed and finding themselves either on stage or in studio, members of the Machine lean on trust and intuition, following another’s lead.

“We were thinking a lot about art’s place in the world and the way that traveling through time, space — through location — becomes a larger theme in your life,” Dave Rawlings tells EW. As one gets older, Rawlings explains, “you’ve been more places, you see where you’re going, you see how your life affects things you write and the art you make.”

“Maybe we’re obsolete,” says Rawlings, quickly adding, “but only in a good way.”

It may seem counterintuitive, until you listen to their second album, Nashville Obsolete, which explores the paradox of change: As we seek to avoid it, we find ourselves constantly in the midst of it. Home then becomes an important theme — our longing for it as wanderlust drives us into new landscapes. “Where you gonna run, tell me where will you roam when you can’t go home?” the Machine asks on Obsolete.

“People will be getting a very fresh machine,” Rawlings says of their show in Eugene, the fourth stop in the tour. “The oil will still be very golden brown.”

Dave Rawlings Machine performs at 8 pm Wednesday, Oct. 21, at McDonald Theatre; $27.50-$37.50. All ages.

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