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- Posted on Aug 10th 2011 11:00AM by Jason Cohen
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"It's good to have Jenny back with us," said frontman Colin Meloy. "Since it was a special show, she was able to make it."
As was Gillian Welch, who taped an ACL set of her own (alongside David Rawlings) the same night. No sooner had Meloy said the band was going to perform stuff from their new album 'The King Is Dead' (after opening with the oldie 'Leslie Ann Levine') than Conlee chimed in, "Hey, Colin. I think we have a special guest," and Welch came out to add her haunted harmonies to "Down by the Water."
That was immediately followed by 'The Calamity Song,' which Meloy sent out with a special dedication. "I have offered this free and clear to the Michelle Bachmann campaign," he joked, referencing the controversy over her use of Tom Petty's 'American Girl.' "I would like to extend that same invitation to Mr. Rick Perry."
While Welch is practically the sixth Decemberist on 'The King Is Dead,' adding vocals to a bunch of songs, the actual sixth Decemberist at the moment is Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins, who plays fiddle and guitar. She also handles Becky Stark's lead vocal for the 'Hazards of Love' track 'Won't Want for Love,' a crescendo for the set that carried over into a big finish of 'The Rake's Song''s creepy percussiveness and the oldie 'O Valencia.'
The show concluded with a Conlee star turn (and some audience participation) on the Brechtian epic 'The Mariner's Revenge,' but before that there was also more from Welch, who came back out for both the country ditty 'All Arise' (with Rawlings) and a lovely 'June Hymn.' "It's the opportunity of a lifetime to sing three-part harmony with those guys," Meloy said.