Gillian Welch Needs A Drink In A 'Dry Town' For her latest video, singer Gillian Welch is stranded in a dry town with "no beer, no liquor for miles around."
YouTube

All Songs TV

Who Needs A Drink? Gillian Welch (and Her Stop-Motion Friends)

The music of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings has always been rooted in wry storytelling, with tales of dusty backroads and the colorful, good-natured characters who live there. In their latest video, for the previously unreleased song "Dry Town (Demo)," this world comes to life in a delightfully animated film using good old fashioned stop motion, a few plastic dolls and some anthropomorphized shot glasses. "It's a dry town," sings Welch, "No beer, no liquor for miles around / I'd give a nickel for a sip or two to wash me down / Outta this dry town." Even without the booze, it's a playful and sweetly captivating place to escape (if only for a moment).

"'Dry Town' came from a live experience I had on a road trip when I was just out of college," Welch tells NPR Music in an email. "David and I wrote the song shortly after moving to Nashville, after a show where we opened for Johnny Cash. We were so inspired to meet Johnny and see him in the flesh that we wanted to capture some of that narrative swagger and humor in a song of our own. Since the story is front and center, it seemed like a great chance to bring the song to life with stop motion animation."

Welch said she gave the toy '71 Buick featured prominently in the video to animator Rachel Blumberg (a former drummer for The Decemberists and Bright Eyes). It soon became the foundation for the video's whole aesthetic.

"Gillian had seen [the stop motion sketch comedy] Robot Chicken recently and thusly had the idea in her head of using action figures to tell the story in the song," says Blumberg. "There were a lot of moments when I was inspired by the rhythm of a line, from the phrasing and melody, about how the characters should move, or what little moment was happening. Besides the music, the lyrics have a great visual quality and rhythm and it made sense to interpret things in a very literal way, which I think adds to the humor of the piece."

"Dry Town (Demo)" is from Gillian Welch's Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg, released last fall.

[+] read more[-] less

More From All Songs TV

A still from Radiohead's "Lift" video. YouTube hide caption

toggle caption YouTube

Radiohead Made A Video For 'Lift' In A Lift

Leave it to Radiohead to take a straightforward joke — Thom Yorke rides a lift for the song "Lift" — and make it surreal.

Front Bottoms in a scene from a new video for the group's song, "Vacation Town." YouTube screen grab hide caption

toggle caption YouTube screen grab

The Heart And Humor Of Front Bottoms Shine On 'Vacation Town'

One of Bob Boilen's favorite live bands explores the comforts of breaking from day-to-day routines in a brutally honest and comical new video.

A still from Kelly Clarkson's "Love So Soft" video. YouTube hide caption

toggle caption YouTube

Kelly Clarkson Returns With 'Love So Soft'

Clarkson makes a bold-but-restrained return with the first single off her new album, Meaning of Life, which drops October 27.

A still from Charlie Parr's "Peaceful Valley" video. YouTube hide caption

toggle caption YouTube

Charlie Parr's Raucous Junk-Rag 'Peaceful Valley' Is Anything But

With fingers flying like a hornet's nest knocked on its side, the guitarist's "Peaceful Valley" is a song for devil-may-care hermits and hoarders. Watch the animated video.

A still from St. Vincent's "New York" video. YouTube hide caption

toggle caption YouTube

St. Vincent's 'New York' Is A Bright Lament

Annie Clark channels the pain of her ballad into a corner flower store and a replica of the Astor Place Cube in a video directed by pop-artist Alex Da Corte.

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile's Lotta Sea Lice comes out Oct. 13. Danny Cohen/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Danny Cohen/Courtesy of the artist

Courtney Barnett And Kurt Vile Are Just Two Peas In A Pod, Continents Apart

Watch a charming video for "Over Everything," the first single from Barnett and Vile's album-length collaboration, Lotta Sea Lice, due Oct. 13.

Back To Top