Lacking some of the focus that made her debut album so stunning, Hell Among the Yearlings
is nevertheless a thoroughly satisfying second album from Gillian Welch
. Instead of backing away from the rustic folkiness of Revival
deepens her bleak, clear-eyed world view, which makes her spare, old-timey arrangements all the more powerful. On occasion, the performances and songs are a bit too studied to be truly effective, but those moments are fleeting -- Hell Among the Yearlings
offers ample proof that Welch
is a talented, individual songwriter and that her debut was no fluke.