I don't know if it is in the production, or the microphone, or the player, or the wood itself, or a little bit of everything, but whatever it was that possessed David Rawlings while recording Gillian Welch's amazing TIME (THE REVELATOR) album, goddamn. Like one of those "sold my soul to the devil at the crossroads" stories. The only possible way this could have happened.
Very first song, very first chord.
Whatever that sound is, I've played a hundred acoustic guitars since I first heard it, trying to make that sound, that weird mid-tone, rich but not too-bassy tone that seemed to grow out of a dank field behind an abandoned farmhouse. So effortless. The rest of the album tracks like that, Rawlings' weird, out-of-its-time sound clashing with Welch's more traditional guitar sound. And then there's this, not just a song that showcases a beautiful guitar sound, but one that encompasses the modern day artist's manifesto: "Everything is Free Now."
I'm still chasing that sound. Someone hand me a hunk of wood, and string a wire over it, and find me that sound!