Festivals haven't always been a good experience for Gillian Welch. Playing as an acoustic duo with longtime musical partner Dave Rawlings, their precise, harmony-drenched Americana is perfect for quiet, acoustically designed indoor theaters. At outdoor music festivals, the subtlety can get lost in a sea of people and stages.

Festivals haven't always been a good experience for Gillian Welch. Playing as an acoustic duo with longtime musical partner Dave Rawlings, their precise, harmony-drenched Americana is perfect for quiet, acoustically designed indoor theaters. At outdoor music festivals, the subtlety can get lost in a sea of people and stages.

"I am typically not that relaxed when we're playing outside," Welch said by phone. "Our music is a little bit akin to chamber music, so I don't usually like it that much when you take it out of the chamber."

Once, when Welch played Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee, helicopters flew overhead during her set. "We had to throw the set list out and play the loudest, fastest songs we have," she said.

Another disastrous performance at the Austin City Limits festival helped coin a term. "I kid you not, we were on the acoustic stage and next to us, at the closest stage, was Skrillex," she said, referring to the dubstep DJ. "There was nothing we could do. We actually just stopped playing. It was kind of perverse. … I was talking to Conor Oberst [of Bright Eyes]. He was saying, 'How was it?' because he was going to play that festival, and I was still upset by the whole thing. I said, 'Oh, man. We were totally Skrillexed.' That became a term for when your set is unplayable because of a neighboring stage."

Despite her festival war stories, Welch said she's looking forward to performing at Nelsonville, where organizers have a track record of pulling off diverse lineups and creating a far more intimate vibe than larger outdoor fests. (There's a reason Nelsonville is routinely referred to as the best music festival in Ohio.) "If I'm on the bill and Diarrhea Planet and Courtney Barnett are on the bill, I'm really looking forward to seeing what the vibe is," said Welch, who spoke slowly, deliberately and with a dose of melancholy the day after her friend and onetime touring partner Guy Clark died.

Welch has five duet albums with Rawlings to draw from for her Nelsonville set, though the most recent record, The Harrow & the Harvest - a dark, gorgeous display of the duo's synchronicity and songwriting - came out in 2011. Long spans between releases aren't uncommon for Welch, partly out of necessity.

"Album sales really aren't supporting artists anymore. People are paying the bills by touring longer and more extensively," she said. "That's where all the money comes from. So that has slowed down the record cycle even more."

The pair's self-imposed quality control is also to blame for the gap. "We don't put out stuff if we're not happy with it," Welch said. "We have this invisible bar - we call it the suck line. Does it suck? Does it not suck? All we're trying to do at any given moment is not suck. As soon as we get stuff above the bar that doesn't suck, we put it out."

Those are understandable reasons for delay, even for impatient fans. But something else about Welch's records has been confounding and frustrating fans for years: With all the attention to detail that goes into a Gillian Welch album, from recording on analog tape to letterpress printing album covers on 100 percent cotton, why aren't the releases available on vinyl? Internet message boards have lamented the vinyl dearth for years.

Turns out the delay again comes down to quality control. "Because we love and respect vinyl so much, we've been building our own lathe for a couple years. It's almost operational," she said of the machine that cuts grooves into lacquer disks used to make vinyl records. "Dave's on the phone in the other room with our vinyl mastering engineer discussing a test that was cut a couple days ago. We're so excited about it. It's kind of sickening that I've watched everyone we know put out vinyl and we have nothing."

Welch and Rawlings wanted to use a certain mastering lab in their hometown of Nashville for vinyl releases. "They've got a tape machine that our tape sounds good on," Welch said. They waited for years for the lab to buy a lathe. "Finally we were like, 'We'll buy a lathe and put it there,'" she said.

Welch isn't sure which album will get the vinyl treatment first, but she's confident the results will be worth the wait. "There'll be zero digital - our master tape to our mastering lathe," she said. "When everything is said and done - when a piece of art just exists - you don't get any ribbons for it being easier or economical."