It's been six years since Patty Griffin released an album of new material. Yeah, she did a way cool Gospel album (which won a Grammy) then recorded and toured with Robert Plant's Band of Joy but no new stuff since '07's stand out Children Running Through. Well, girlfriend is back with what I consider to be her most personal album yet and it's in tribute to her recently departed father.
Although Ms. Griffin is identified as an acoustic guitar and piano player much of her music is never in just one genre. American Kid is closest in sound and atmosphere to Patty's 1996 debut Living With Ghosts which featured voice and guitar only. The exception here is there are other musicians helping out. Co-Produced by guitarist Craig Ross (Lisa Germano) and North Mississippi Allstars' guitarist Luther Dickinson and drummer Cody Dickinson, who have help to create Ms. G's most Americana sounding album thus far.
In the opener "Go Wherever Want To Go" Patty tries making peace with her Dad's imminent passing, telling him when he's gone "You can go to the Moon and say hello." "Irish Boy," is written all about her father's years as a soldier and his return from a long hard won WWII. With just piano accompaniment, it's perhaps one of her most heart breaking, vulnerable and power songs with vocals to match. Speaking of Robert Plant, he lends his iconic voice with Patty on "Faithful Son", "Highway Song" and the single "Ohio." Ms. Griffin, who's a singer's singer like Patsy, Aretha and Dusty, has a voice much more suited to singing with Plant than his Allison Krauss collaboration. There's also a cover of Lefty Frizzell's "Mom and Dad's Waltz" from the view point of a sentimental young child, not Griffin's usual vibe. My personal fave is "Don't Let Me Die In Florida", which is something her Dad said to her after a visit to FL to bury his brother. Word!, MR. Griffin. I'm there with ya on that one. Patty let's this one rip with '...If you catch me dying in Daytona throw my bed onto a train' while coming down hard with her acoustic guitar riffs.
Mr. Griffin's impending death might have inspired these songs, but it's not a whiney, feel sorry for me, morbid death trip. In fact just the opposite. It's a reminder to celebrate the ones with love even though there still will be some grieving involved. As far as celebrating goes if your in NYC on June 5th, Patty and her killer band with be kicking off this year's Celebrate Brooklyn Concert Series in Prospect Park. If you can't make that gig you can catch Patty and co. on their upcoming tour. Not to be missed!
Upcoming tour dates:
May 30th - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel
June 1st - Graham, NC - Haw River Ballroom
June 2nd - Alexandria, VA - Birchmere
June 3rd - Alexandria, VA - Birchmere
June 5th - Brooklyn, NY - Celebrate Brooklyn
June 6th - Philadelphia, PA - Verizon Hall
June 7th - Boston, MA - House of Blues Boston
June 8th - Waterville, ME - Waterville Opera House
June 12th - Chicago, IL - Athenaeum Theatre
June 13th - Minneapolis, MN - Pantages Theatre
June 15th - Bozeman, MT - Willson Theater
July 19th - Gateshead, UK - The Sage Gateshead
July 20th - Manchester, UK - Royal Northern College of Music
July 21st - Perth, UK - Perth Concert Hall
July 23rd - Milton Keynes, UK - The Stables
July 24th - Birmingham, UK - Glee Club
July 25th - London, UK - Union Chapel
July 26th - Cambridge, UK - Cambridge Folk Festival
August 17th - Lyons, CO - Rocky Mt. Folk Festival
Photos via Cambria Harkey