PATTY GRIFFIN – ” Patty Griffin “

Posted: February 16, 2020 in CLASSIC ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Despite having experienced her fair share of relationship and health problems over the last few years, Patty Griffin emerges from a dark period in her life with an album which shows no diminution in the quality of her music – not only this, it is also a testament to her resilience and strength of character. She is joined by musicians who have also contributed to some recent albums – multi-instrumentalist Craig Ross, guitarist David Pulkingham and Conrad Choucroun on drums/percussion; additionally, Robert Plant provides subdued backing vocals on two songs.

Whilst the song-writing on ‘Patty Griffin’ is highly personal, many songs reach out to raise the listener’s awareness of what is taking place in our society including, with some songs, issues which are especially pertinent to the status of women; for example: the stress and anxiety experienced by single mothers (‘Mamas Worried’), vulnerability, exploitation and inequality (‘Coins’), surviving sexual violence (‘What I Remember’) and the forces of good rising up to defeat the forces of evil – a metaphor for our times? (‘Bluebeard’). By contrast, some other songs are contemplative and introspective (‘River’, ‘Where I Come From’, ‘What Now’, ‘ Luminous Places’). Patty’s knack for writing character driven song-stories had almost come to define her song-writing style – but, as with with ‘Servant of Love’, there are only a few examples on ‘Patty Griffin’; instead, the song-writing focuses more upon issues and emotions – and hence, her lyrics are obliquely enigmatic and loaded with symbolism.

The arrangements are acoustic/semi-acoustic lending the album an overall sound and feel similar to Patty’s acoustic masterpiece ‘Living With Ghosts’; however, her vocals are less strident and the mood is somewhat more meditative.

The instrumental accompaniment is fairly sparse and is dominated by various acoustic guitars (rhythm, steel string, baritone, lap steel and bass) – David Pulkingham plays on all but three tracks (make sure you savour the rather tasty classical-flamenco accents of his playing on a few of these). Other instruments played on selected tracks include: piano, cello (both worth a close listen), trombone, marimba, organ, drums/percussion and ‘drones’. Most of the songs are slow tempo – only ‘Where I Come From’ and ‘The Wheel’ are more up tempo (and the latter is the only song that gets close to rocking).

‘Patty Griffin’ is a veritable tour de force from Patty and her musicians.

Patty Griffin’s self-titled album released via PGM / Thirty Tigers. Release Date: March 8th, 2019

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