Gillian Welch (born October 2, 1967 in New York City) is a singer-songwriter whose musical style combines elements of bluegrass, neotraditional country, Americana, old-time string band music, and folk into a rustic style that she dubs "American Primitive". All of her recordings feature the close harmonies and unconventional guitar work of her musical partner, David Rawlings. Her music is often described as haunting or soothing. Welch pronounces her first name with a hard G (IPA: [g] rather than IPA: [d??]).
Welch was born in Manhattan and was adopted when she was three days old. She moved to Los Angeles at the age of four. On her eighth birthday she wished for and got a guitar and lessons, and learned soon to play the guitar. Studying at the University of California, Santa Cruz Welch discovered bluegrass music through the "mountain soul" stylings of The Stanley Brothers. After a short stint in a local camp band called Söfa, Welch moved to Boston and studied at the Berklee College of Music.