Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Way with Words: Patty Griffin's Powerful New CD Reveals a Singer-Songwriter at the Height of Her Craft

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Way with Words: Patty Griffin's Powerful New CD Reveals a Singer-Songwriter at the Height of Her Craft

Article excerpt

An honorary lesbian who ranks among straight-but-friendly Lilith Fair and Songwriter Tour alums Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, and Dar Williams, Patty Griffin is finally approaching a level of mainstream success that once seemed impossibly remote. After a bumpy debut that included two shelved albums and an unceremonious dismissal by major record label A&M, she bounced back with a Grammy nomination (2002's 1000 Kisses); cover turns by luminaries including Bette Midler, Emmylou Harris, and the Dixie Chicks (she also served as the Chicks' opening act during their Fly Tour 2000); and now her third solid release on Dave Matthews's ATO imprint, on which she sounds better and digs deeper than ever before.

A lo-fi recording of her parents singing the title track--one of their favorites--is nestled between tracks 6 and 7, anchoring this most personal and poignant collection of stories and memories. Musically, its 11 songs sport more arrangement and forethought than her 1996 bare-bones demo debut, Living With Ghosts, and the minimalistic Kisses, striking a nice middle ground between the starkness of those releases and the overwhelming fury of her anomalous 1998 rock foray, Flaming Red.

Griffin's soulful Americana style blends elements of folk, country, bluegrass, pop, and--on this album, especially--blues and gospel. …

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