Cover Alert | Rawlings Employs John Paul Jones For Led Zep Cover

David Rawlings is best known for his long-standing musical partnership with Gillian Welch, dutifully serving as Welch’s sideman over the course of her five studio albums. Back in 2009, Rawlings and Welch swapped roles with the release of A Friend of a Friend, the highly recommended debut record from the tongue-in-cheek-named David Rawlings Machine. After an initial tour behind the album, gigs from the band -which featured members of the Old Crow Medicine Show -have been sparse.

A few weeks back the singer-guitarist announced that he would be dusting off the Machine for a short, seven-date Southeast tour with a special lineup. Joining Rawlings on the road this time around, besides Welch, is Willie Watson (ex-OCMS) on guitar and banjo, Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers) on the upright bass and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on mandolin.

Last week the tour kicked off with a sold out show at the Bijou Theater in Knoxville, TN, featuring a mix of material from A Friend of a Friend, as well as a slew of cover songs from the likes of The Band, Woody Guthrie, Bright Eyes, Neil Young and Bob Dylan. During the band’s second encore Rawlings got a chance to utilize the member of Led Zeppelin in his band by offering a cover of the iconic band’s folk-iest number -“Going To California.” For their take on the track, which first appeared on IV and is rumored to be about Joni Mitchell, Rawlings got to channel his inner Robert Plant, while Jones laid down a fantastic mandolin solo. Let’s check it out:

Written By: Jeffrey Greenblatt