Heavenly Day

My Brother-in-law sent me this review of Patty Griffin’s new album set to drop February 6, note that in the blog of “things to look forward to” this is listed as numero uno! The new album is titled Children Running Through and one of the songs from that album is my featured myspace song. I posted the review below just to give you an idea about what to expect if you are new to her music. I have been a fan for several years, and was introduced to her songs by a friend from Union. Its hard to say if I have a FAVORITE Patty Song… but the top two would have to be “Nobody’s Crying” and “When it Dont Come Easy” followed closely by “Chief” and “Useless Desires”. But its so hard to really pick a favorite.

I like Nobody’s Crying because its so gripping to me… i feel what she is singing.

I like When it Don’t Come Easy because it reminds me of marriage. You would have to listen to it to understand. The chorus says: if you break down, ill drive out and find out, if you forget my love, i’ll try to remind you, i’ll stand by you… when it dont come easy. thats real love.

I like Chief because I think about the man she is singing about and think I would like to meet him someday. Also there is this part in the middle of the song where she just tears it up on the guitar and the songs literally soars and gives me chills every time. Its really fantastic.

I like Useless Desires because its the happiest sad song you will ever hear. “Somewhere beyond the bitter end is where I want to be” I have had a number of useless desires in my short life. Haven’t you?

I know alot of folks have paid more attention to her since Miss Jessica Simpson decided to cover one of her songs, but sadly Jess didnt do it justice. Patty has a way of really connecting to people with her voice… she isnt just a musician, she is a writer and story-teller who just happens to be a fantastic musician. She can tell the best stories and she can play just about ever instrument you have ever seen. Each song is a story. And every time I listen I feel that I am different than I was before.

I have long said that my favorites were Counting Crows and Harry Connick Jr. They still are. However, Patty has come to rise to the top of my most favorite musician list. So there ya go. If you like what you hear, leave me a comment and tell me why. If you have a favorite Patty song I would love to know which one and what parts really stand out to you. These songs are so much more than music to me. I want to know if you can hear what I hear, too.


Patty Griffin- Children Running Through

Perhaps, even after a half-dozen well-regarded albums, a good handful of high-profile songwriting cuts, and regular reminders that Emmylou Harris and Buddy Miller and countless others think well of her work… perhaps we haven’t properly been introduced to Patty Griffin yet.

Children Running Through opens softly, muted bass strings plucked against brushed drums, and then she eases into the microphone: confident, gloriously self-assured, bold and subtle all at once. She soars. The song is called “You’ll Remember”, and you will.

It is as if, for the first time in her career, Griffin is ready to stare her listeners straight in the eye, square her shoulders, and say, “Yeah, as a matter of fact, I am darn
good. Let me show you.” And then blow the room away.

Every other record she has made– and most of them are quite good– seems now to have been a preamble to this work, by leaps and bounds the best of her career. It is possible, in hindsight, to trace all the elements back to other songs, other experiments, other producers. Other times. But even if everything she has done before seems to lead directly to this album, it still arrived as a shock. Even wincing against the danger of hyperbole, if somebody makes a better record in 2007, it will have been a spectacular year.

Leaps and bounds better, and yet a completely logical progression. It’s not the songwriting, long Griffin’s easy strength, though sure enough these dozen tracks betray the careful hand of an accomplished writer. And it’s not even the varied musical settings, the strings, the horns, the near absence of electric guitar (though there’s plenty that rocks.)

It’s her voice.

Maybe this is simply a matter of co-producer Michael McCarthy’s microphone choice and placement, or of mixing preferences, or of some other studio magic. Perhaps, even, it’s simply that, for the first time, Griffin is co-producing herself. Nah, probably not. Children Running Through is all about Griffin reveling in the suddenly– startlingly– enormous power of her singing.

Power she uses judiciously. “Railroad wings”, the latest in a series of childhood memory pieces, is tenderly sung, hushed, as if performed in the quiet of a very solitary place. So is its mate, “Burgendy Shoes”, set mostly against Ian McLagan’s understated piano lline. “Stay On The Ride”, the newest among her bracing and sensitive songs about old age (the Dixie Chicks covered one) works into a joyous, nearly gospel lather. By contrast, “Heavenly Day” is close to full-blown pop, complete with strings. “No Bad News” (possible an anti-Bush tongue-lashing, and as easily not) is carried by firmly stroked nylon strings and vein-popping vocals.

Power she controls utterly. What could be a pro-forma kiss-off, “Getting Ready” (“Oh baby, I’m getting ready/I’m getting ready to let you go”) quickly turns from an uptempo crowd-pleaser into an elegant and brutally honest dissection of a failing relationship. And yet remains a crowd-pleaser.

Power she shares, singing easily with Emmylou Harris– neither of them drawing attention to their voices, only to the song– on the circus short story “Trapeze”. Throughout, she leaves abundant room for her ensemble (regulars, including Doug Lancio on guitars, Michael Langoria on percussion, and J.D. Foster or Glenn Worf on bass) to propel each song forward, striking exactly the right mood, framing each song– and her voice– with exquisite precision.

And her voice…. She could always sing, of course. But this… this is singing.

-Grant Alden

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s