Up until last November’s release of Gillian Welch’s Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg, most knew the fast-burning honky-tonk of “Dry Town” as one of the more endearing Miranda Lambert deep cuts. A locomotive lament to coming up empty in the search for a little liquid courage, it was actually written by Welch and creative partner Dave Rawlings, at the time the two were putting together material for her seminal debut, 1996’s Revival.
“Dry Town” was left in the bin, as it was too much of a romp for the serious introspection that informed the LP, but Welch and Rawlings decided to unveil it in demo form on Boots, a collection of unreleased versions and rarities from the Revival sessions. And now they’ve given it the stop-motion treatment in a new video, featuring animated incarnations of the duo – down to little clay cowboy hats and felt prairie dresses – that show how Rawlings still plays guitar like Dave Rawlings, even when his arms are pink pipe cleaners. Watch it above.
“Dry Town,” crafted after Welch and Rawlings opened for Johnny Cash back in the Nineties, bears resemblance to the Man in Black’s signature chugging strum on songs like “Ring of Fire,” which was similarly written in duo by June Carter and Merle Kilgore. Boots, released to celebrate the twenty years that have elapsed since the T Bone Burnett-produced Revival, does expose a looser, more rollicking side of Welch, also documented in outtake form on the hand-clapping, rockabilly-esque “455 Rocket,” a Top Thirty single for Kathy Mattea in 1997.
Directed by Rachel Blumberg, who has played drums with Bright Eyes and the Decemberists, “Dry Town” follows in the wake of Radiohead’s animated music video revival with “Burn the Witch,” though in far less ominous form.