Songwriter Gillian Welch to be honored with UNC’s Thomas Wolfe Prize

Award-winning composer-lyricist-performer Gillian Welch will be honored by UNC Chapel Hill’s Department of English & Comparative Literature with the Thomas Wolfe Prize this fall.

Gillian Welch

Gillian Welch attended Berklee College of Music in Boston before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, and embarking on a writing and performing career that over nearly 25 years has brought her and longtime collaborator Rawlings popular success and critical acclaim. With direct, emotional, imagistic songs; distinctively tight vocal harmonies; and close, two-guitar instrumental support, Welch and Rawlings have created a powerful and immediately recognizable sound in American music. Alec Wilkinson of The New Yorker wrote, “Welch is a singer and songwriter whose music is not easily classified—it is at once innovative and obliquely reminiscent of past rural forms . . . when Welch and Rawlings sing together, their voices fit so tightly that they seem welded.”

Albums by Gillian Welch include: Revival (1996; Grammy Nominee for Best Contemporary Folk Album); Hell Among the Yearlings (1998); Time (The Revelator) (2001; Grammy Nominee for Best Contemporary Folk Album); Soul Journey (2003); and The Harrow and The Harvest (2011; Grammy Nominee for Best Folk Album, 2012). Welch served as executive producer as well as a performer for the eight times platinum soundtrack album to the Coen brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou? for which she was awarded the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2001. The 2015 Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting went to David Rawlings and Gillian Welch.

The Thomas Wolfe Prize and Lecture honor the memory of one of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s most famous alumni, Thomas Clayton Wolfe (Class of 1920), author of Look Homeward, Angel (1929).
Sponsors of the 2018 Thomas Wolfe Lecture are alumnus John Skipper (BA English 1978), The Thomas Wolfe Society, and the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

A free, ticketed public program – The Story in Song: Conversation and Music with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings — is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. in Hill Hall on the UNC campus

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