Backed by perennial collaborator Dave Rawlings, country-folk singer-songwriter Gillian Welch defines "Americana" on her own terms. Her latest album, The Harrow & the Harvest, continues that redefinition in its cover design, for which Welch and Rawlings commissioned a portrait from John Dyer Baizley, leader of Georgia's sludge/prog-metal outfit Baroness. Baizley turned in an intricate pen-and-ink allegorical drawing of the two musicians, reminiscent of English mystic Austin Osman Spare. The creative team then decided to letterpress the cover on hard cardboard that had to be individually stuffed into the jewel cases by hand. "We've sort of debunked everything mechanized!" Welch brags. The result? American folk art at its best and a tactile experience you can hold onto long after your hard drive goes boom.
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