Patty Griffin: C or D?

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This is inspired by the unlikely revival of the Suzanne Vega C/D thread.

I think Patty Griffin is in a class of her own as a female singer-songwriter. She takes far more chances, is infinitely grittier, and has superior melodic and songwriting sense when compared with any of the usual suspects such as Colvin, McLachlan, and the rest of those jokers.

She's hardly written a bad song, let alone made a bad record. She has not made enough records, or at least released enough. Anyone know where I can get that one shelved record she did a few years ago?

(Do not bring up Joni Mitchell; she is outside of the discussion by virtue of being an angel. This is limited to earthly beings.)

southern lights (southern lights), Tuesday, 13 April 2004 20:25 (eighteen years ago) link

'Rain' is an awesome song, it would be totally awesome if not for the 'deep, deep, deep' 'weep, weep, weep' rhyme.

scottjames23 (worrysome-man), Tuesday, 13 April 2004 20:29 (eighteen years ago) link

Bingo - deep, deep, deep is a great line; weep, weep, weep a lame payoff considering her skill as a lyricist.

southern lights (southern lights), Tuesday, 13 April 2004 20:31 (eighteen years ago) link

"It's hard to listen to a hard, hard heart / Beating close to mine"

Hard + hard + hard + heart should be illegal, but works perfectly in context.

southern lights (southern lights), Tuesday, 13 April 2004 20:34 (eighteen years ago) link

I think Flaming Red is a really good album, especially the song "Tony."

Mark M, Wednesday, 14 April 2004 00:58 (eighteen years ago) link

I think her new album is a beauty.

Josh in Chicago (Josh in Chicago), Wednesday, 14 April 2004 04:35 (eighteen years ago) link

two years pass...
Children Running Through sounds great!

Surmounter, Tuesday, 10 April 2007 16:40 (fifteen years ago) link

No Bad News from her new one is excellent.

kornrulez6969, Tuesday, 10 April 2007 16:49 (fifteen years ago) link

Yes it's so good! My friend is like so into that one.

Surmounter, Tuesday, 10 April 2007 16:54 (fifteen years ago) link

I wish she'd go back to the Flaming Red writing style for a bit--they were so catchy and polishedpunky, the new stuff is great, but it's definitely to me deemphasizing the chorus. Sighh....

Jubalique Die Zitronen, Tuesday, 10 April 2007 17:34 (fifteen years ago) link

iiinteresting. i can see that.

Surmounter, Tuesday, 10 April 2007 18:19 (fifteen years ago) link

six years pass...

The new single, with Robert Plant on backing vocals, sounds really good:

So are she and Plant married now or what? This show review reprinted on his web site says so, but I don't know if either of them has directly confirmed it.

Brad C., Sunday, 14 April 2013 20:19 (nine years ago) link

Haven't liked an album of hers in years, but damn those first two albums are great.

Still, will check this one out.

Public Brooding Closet (cryptosicko), Monday, 15 April 2013 04:10 (nine years ago) link

three months pass...

Pretty awesome news right here:


Recorded in 2000, Griffin's "Lost" Silver Bell Album Features
"Top Of The World" and "Truth #2," Later Covered by Dixie Chicks

Recorded at Daniel Lanois' Kingsway Studio; Newly Mixed by Glyn Johns

Los Angeles, California - July 31, 2013 - "There's a whole lot of singing/That's never gonna be heard/Disappearing every day/Without so much as a word," sings Patty Griffin in "Top Of The World," a song from her unreleased album, Silver Bell, recorded in 2000 and intended to be the follow-up to her hard-rocking 1998 sophomore release, Flaming Red. The album was not released by A&M Records, a victim of the label's turn-of-the-century ownership change, and until now, it has remained a missing piece from Griffin's acclaimed catalog. Newly mixed by legendary producer Glyn Johns, Silver Bell will be released for the first time on October 8 by Universal Music Enterprises across all major digital and physical music retailers.

Silver Bell features 14 original songs recorded at Daniel Lanois' Kingsway Studio in New Orleans by Griffin on vocals, guitar and piano with guitarist Doug Lancio, keyboardist John Deaderick, bassist Frank Swart, and percussionist Billy Beard. Emmylou Harris also joined Griffin in the studio to sing harmony on "Truth #2."

Despite its 13 years of limbo, the sought-after album spawned two huge hits for the Dixie Chicks, who covered both "Top Of The World" and "Truth #2" for their six-million-selling 2002 Home album. In addition, the band's Natalie Maines recorded Silver Bell's title track for her recent solo debut, Mother. Through the years, Griffin's original songs have also been covered by many other notable artists, including Solomon Burke, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Kelly Clarkson, Martina McBride, Bette Midler, Ben Harper, Bon Iver, Linda Ronstadt, Ellie Goulding & Lissie, Melissa Etheridge, Jessica Simpson, Miranda Lambert, Shooter Jennings and Joan Osborne.

Since parting with A&M, Griffin has continued her successful, critically-acclaimed career, releasing 1000 Kisses (2002, ATO Records), Impossible Dream (2004, ATO Records), Children Running Through (2007, ATO Records), the GRAMMY® Award winning Downtown Church (2010, Credential Recordings), and her latest album, American Kid, released in May (New West Records).

Patty Griffin: Silver Bell [CD, digital]
1. Little God
2. Truth#2
3. Boston
4. Perfect White Girls
5. Sooner or Later
6. What you Are
7. Silver Bell
8. Fragile
9. Mother of God
10. One More Girl
11. Sorry and Sad
12. Driving
13. Top of the World
14. So Long

The Butthurt Locker (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 31 July 2013 18:55 (nine years ago) link

Didn't Top of the World make it to Impossible Dream? That's a heck of a song. I remember seeing the Dixie Chicks do it and bring the arena to pin-drop silence. I've seen Griffin do the same for, um, smaller crowds.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 31 July 2013 19:12 (nine years ago) link

Some of the songs off the record dribbled onto other ones. I think "Mother of God" made it onto the same record (I kinda stopped paying attention after the first couple, but what I've heard from this one sounded terrific at the time).

The Butthurt Locker (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 31 July 2013 19:21 (nine years ago) link

three months pass...

You know, I'm really glad she's found so much success in her relative mode, but I can see why she was disillusioned for so long. "Flaming Red" is about as ready for ears as any record, and the fact that it flopped and was followed by a stint in label limbo would have dampened any singer's spirit.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 8 November 2013 15:41 (nine years ago) link

Like, how in the world did this not get some degree of play, crossover or no?

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 8 November 2013 15:54 (nine years ago) link

Particularly since the 1998 radio was full of things that sounded exactly like this (only mostly of them nowhere near as good). A damn shame though; the more records that she makes that sound nothing like this, the more I'm convinced that Flaming Red is her masterpiece.

a fifth of misty beethoven (cryptosicko), Friday, 8 November 2013 16:31 (nine years ago) link

four years pass...

I don't think anybody saw this cover coming:

Dangleballs and the Ballerina (cryptosicko), Saturday, 17 February 2018 01:02 (four years ago) link


curmudgeon, Saturday, 17 February 2018 17:11 (four years ago) link

five months pass...

I've never paid attention to Sugarland, mostly because I don't pay any attention to modern country in general, but this cover makes my heart glad:

Police, Academy (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 02:25 (four years ago) link

five months pass...

New album coming March 8; her first since battling breast cancer (I hadn't heard about this until just now). The two advance tracks are maybe a bit same-y, but promising nonetheless:

Timothée Charalambides (cryptosicko), Saturday, 9 February 2019 19:46 (three years ago) link

two years pass...

Don't know anything about the origins of this, but it makes me extremely happy.

edited for dog profanity (cryptosicko), Friday, 9 April 2021 17:35 (one year ago) link

wow, that is fabulous. Thank you for posting! I just listened to the My Favorite Album episode on Living With Ghosts a couple weeks ago.

I don't listen to Patty a ton these days but for my money there haven't been many albums made in the 21st century better than Impossible Dream.

Indexed, Friday, 9 April 2021 19:06 (one year ago) link

She's one of a handful of artists I've seen make a peer burst into tears onstage.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 9 April 2021 19:11 (one year ago) link

ten months pass...

"Forgiveness" -- what a riff.

Indexed, Tuesday, 15 February 2022 18:14 (eleven months ago) link

I discovered "Flaming Red" last year, terrific alt-country. What album of hers should I check out next?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 15 February 2022 19:09 (eleven months ago) link

Honestly I think the first four are all excellent and it might make sense to go chronologically?

Living With Ghosts was her debut and is almost entirely a solo acoustic record. Because it is so stripped down, it can read as a little coffee shop, but it also has some of her best and most famous songs. It includes "Moses," the song that cryptosicko posted a video of Bette Midler & Dolly Parton covering upthread.

Flaming Red was 2nd and is her most rock-oriented album, probably in part because it was produced by Jay Joyce. A contingent of her long-term fans consider it her best. My first exposure to Griffin was the song "Mary (feat. Emmylou Harris)" on a mix Lucinda Williams made.

1000 Kisses was 3rd; it's more adult contemporary folk in a similar vibe to "Mary."

As I said upthread, Impossible Dream (#4) is imo literally one of my favorite albums of the century and where she starts to dabble in gospel and traditional folk music. The production is really unique, featuring strings, brass instruments, and electric piano, which add a ton of warmth to the mix. It includes the song "Top of the World" that The Dixie Chicks covered and named a tour (and accompanying live album) after.

There are great moments on all of her other albums, too, but that's where I'd start.

Indexed, Tuesday, 15 February 2022 19:58 (eleven months ago) link

I remember seeing the Dixie Chicks that tour, and when they played "Top of the World" it just killed everyone dead. Another time I saw her do it herself, at a benefit show featuring Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bruce Cockburn, Steve Earle and Nanci Griffith, and I want to say she reduced Griffith to tears. (Which it looks like is the last thing posted in this thread, by me, almost a year ago, and probably something I also mentioned years before that, lol).

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 15 February 2022 20:15 (eleven months ago) link

Yes, she has that remarkable ability to make you feel like she's singing to you.

Do you have a favorite? I often feel like I'm alone in my praise of Impossible Dream and think the first two (and even the shelved Silver Bell) are most cherished by older fans.

Indexed, Tuesday, 15 February 2022 20:25 (eleven months ago) link

I think her first few are all really great, but I do recall loving "Impossible Dream" a lot (it's been a while). Iirc there's a bit of a sonic crossover in the early days with the Emmylou/Lanois thing, which suited her too. Honestly I haven't listened to her last few, but she's the type of world class songwriter (like cohorts Buddy and Julie Miller) that I can't imagine ever putting out a bad record.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 15 February 2022 22:06 (eleven months ago) link

Also American Kid, dedicated to her father, with affecting songs and big rich groves and thickets of Americana production (Plant shows up, and I really liked how they sounde together on his Band of Joy) then Servant of Love, production getting wild at times---stripping it all down, even more dramatically, on the 2019 s/t: each one of those took me some getting used to, but always worth it. Speaking of Chicks covers, Maines did an awesome "Silver Bell" on her fine solo disc, which she didn't bother to promote much.

dow, Tuesday, 15 February 2022 23:22 (eleven months ago) link

Yeah, Silver Bell--intended as her third album, but not released until 2013--is where I would go next if I wanted more like Flaming Red. In many ways it is nearly as strong--or at least it would be if I thought anything could compare to FR.

Les hommes de bonbons (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 16 February 2022 00:55 (eleven months ago) link

Yeah good call on Silver Bell. Glyn Johns did the mixing on the official release, if I'm not mistaken.

dow - American Kid is excellent and is my favorite of what I think of as her third phase (roughly, Phase 1: Living With Ghosts, Flaming Red, Silver Bell; Phase 2: 1000 Kisses through Children Running Through, Phase 3: since Downtown Church), but for newcomers, I'd start earlier in the chronology.

Indexed, Wednesday, 16 February 2022 15:12 (eleven months ago) link

Just listened to "Silver Bell" - sold! Fantastic should've been follow-up to "Flaming Red", whatever cloth-eared exec rejected it deserves to be out of a job.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Wednesday, 23 February 2022 02:13 (eleven months ago) link

Maybe they were hoping for something more normie Americana singer-songwriter--it was a mix, of things, as I noted in 2013 Nashville Scene ballot comments:
Silver Bell, recorded with a 2000 release in mind, incl. originals beautifully covered by the Dixie Chicks, and the title song rings curvy changes for Maines' own Mother. Otherwise, it's mostly, um, art-rock, for lack of a better term: not the kind of rock constituting so much country these days, mainstream or indie. It's always beautifully tuned and performed, sometimes semi-cryptically/quirkily worded (not a complaint). (Motheris awesome too: a mother, in fact.)

dow, Wednesday, 23 February 2022 03:24 (eleven months ago) link

Excited to announce our 2022 tour! 💕 We can’t wait to see you all again! We’ll be joined by @PattyGMusic* and @jennylewis^ at select dates. Tickets on sale Friday, March 4th at 10am local.

— The Chicks (@thechicks) February 28, 2022

Indexed, Monday, 28 February 2022 15:50 (eleven months ago) link

I have a suspicion they might as well change their name to the Chick$ for this tour.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 28 February 2022 16:14 (eleven months ago) link

five months pass...

One of the better Patty covers I've ever heard by an incredible songwriter in her own right. My partner and I chose the original for our first dance, so I'm admittedly biased, but this had me tearing up.

Indexed, Tuesday, 9 August 2022 19:27 (five months ago) link

reminds me---from Rolling Country:

(PGM Recordings/Thirty Tigers)
Release Dates:
Friday, June 10 (CD, Digital Download, Streaming)
Friday, June 17 (Cassette)
“At some point in the pandemic, I was digging through my own music streaming to relearn some of my own oldies and found something that had been compiled (perhaps by a computer algorithm) that was titled as a ‘rarities’ or ‘deep cuts’ collection,” Griffin says. “I looked of course, and it was a pretty boring list for the most part. I later dug through some recordings I had done on cheap home recording apps, including my favorite one called TapeDeck which I’m not sure exists anymore. I really liked some of the songs. They were better than I had remembered. I dug around some more and found things from some GarageBand recordings, and then also a couple of things from an in-studio demo session in Nashville that were pretty interesting, including a duet I did with Robert Plant when we first met. It all seemed worth listening to. Back then I didn’t think so, but I do now.

“The sound quality on the majority of things on TAPE is pretty low, but the performances are what really matter to me. My home recordings are almost always my favorite recordings, as far as capturing a fresh, direct feeling. The shy introvert’s dilemma…I’ve always had a hard time creating that same feeling in a studio full of people whose talent is in sound quality. These songs have a feel you can only get when you’re by yourself at three o’clock in the morning. To listen to the bulk of these recordings, you do have to let go of the idea of good sound quality and just listen to the performance. I feel better getting some true rarities out there for people to listen to…not compiled by a computer algorithm."

dow, Tuesday, 9 August 2022 20:06 (five months ago) link

Note the ones on Realistic: Radio Shack house brand. Humblebrag?

dow, Tuesday, 9 August 2022 20:08 (five months ago) link

(Prob no prob.)

dow, Tuesday, 9 August 2022 20:10 (five months ago) link

listened once. a nice treat for fans, to be sure, but deep cuts are usually deep for good reason.

Indexed, Tuesday, 9 August 2022 20:18 (five months ago) link

Oh yeah, that self-titled 2019 album---from my Scene ballot comments:

Also, re xpost Sturgill's approach: even more, or more surprisingly, personalized retro---"bespoke," right?--is to be found on most of Patty Griffin's current s/t--it's surprising to me because she's usually got a very distinctive style of composition, and these spare tracks---usually just her and a guitar and sometimes a bass, a couple voice-piano pieces, acoustic probably, although there is "The Wheel, " a grinding combo blues shuffle---at first seem a little too familiar, received, aside from the unfamiliar lack of sonic density and burnished imagery. But after a couple of opening duds--despite the striking Spanish-style guitar, she keeps repeating the verse of "Mama's Worried" in a way that does not build momentum, and "River" is the woman-as-river bit that Howe Gelb did better---soon enough, her newly mumblecore-tending urgency has me leaning into my headphones, and for instance rushes the cool beat of "Hourglass," and rises through the Braziloid sunrise of "What I Remember," and hovers in the the canyon (piano pedals) twilight of "Luminous Places" and there's a couple near the end that are trademark PG-style after all, and really just about all of this is, mostly in a way I've near heard before (not that I've checked all of her albums). Certainly preoccupied and restlessly-rooted Incl. sitting down) enough for some forms of country (also I'd like to hear the Dixie Chicks/Courtyard Hounds/solo Maines cover some of these).

dow, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 02:50 (five months ago) link

five months pass...

oh mang, finally listened to all of Tape, and it had me from the first notes, not requiring multiple schoolings like the solo s/t did. These are all a bit simpler than what we typically find on her finished product. One sounds like a thematic/POV variant of Springsteen's "Atlantic City," another resembles second cousin to a certain DeMent fave, and she may have thought so too, reasons for setting them aside, despite the fact that they actually *sound* like nobody but PG---overall though, wtf? Guess they just didn't fit, or in some cases, painfully fit too well with then-current preoccupations incl. projected albums.
But just sooo damn could---rec. also to fans of The Marfa Tapes, though this is more late night solitude than twilight campfire guitar-pulls duh.
She does have company over on the one where Plant shows up: a jazzy shuffle, with organ, electric guitar, bass, drums---kind of a boogie really, and I thought of John Lee Hooker from time to time. There's also a tiny, charming instrumental, "Octaves." Sending an insistent signal to somebody at sea, via tape haze (usually not noticable).
Here's where I listened (loud and clear enough):

dow, Friday, 20 January 2023 19:31 (two weeks ago) link

But just sooo damn could Also sooo damn good!

dow, Friday, 20 January 2023 19:34 (two weeks ago) link

These are all a bit simpler than what we typically find on her finished product.
Of course simpler in that most of the accompaniment is one guitar or piano, but also the lyrics are "simpler" in an otm. succinctly searching (finding something of what you're looking for, to say, at least, and moving along) way.

dow, Friday, 20 January 2023 19:40 (two weeks ago) link

Vs. the way on some big album projects she's gone off into religious concerns which I don't always quite get (although "Mary," cogently covered on Joan Baez's The Day After Tomorrow is "covered in roses...covered in slashes," finding her (and/or Her) way through the story's edits, somewhat like everybody else.)
Also thinking of (more Scene ballot comments)

Patty Griffin, Servant of Love: Despite the title, nothing submissive about this 'un. Sometimes a dry martini prowl, sometimes more of a search party vibe, or burnished thickets of guitar, over the waves---then again, she's come to think of love, not as something heroic, but as "waves chipping at the rocks, 'til they turn to sand/I would have told you, but you never asked me." Umm, okay, maybe just as well...she started the album in a very present-tense, you-are-there sustained wish and waiting for a house on the coast… it Americana (nocturnal psychedelic treatments of tradition-associated frameworks, somewhat like Robert Plant's Band of Joy, which she sang in)...Also some of this seems pretty well suited for the latter-day voice of Plant, her ex. Maybe more than her own voice, actually; lots to take in here, anyway.
Later: she sounds weary sometimes, strong and resourceful always, calling in old and new configurations, always in progress, def. incl. descending melodies. So it always works out, poignancy-wise, and this may be a kind of break-up album, talking, working around it, w/o falling in.
But again, Tape is much more immediate.

dow, Friday, 20 January 2023 19:56 (two weeks ago) link

She was great last night. Seemed more inclined to slightly odder recent stuff, maybe (a couple of times in this configuration she reminded me of Tom Waits), but she was funny and played more than a few showstoppers. "Mother of God" was the one that really got me, and that was interrupted by a flaccid microphone stand and a bunch of dick jokes before she started over again and killed it like nothing happened. Her guitarist, too, David Pulkingham ... that guy is nuts talented.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 28 January 2023 14:43 (one week ago) link

Blast, I should have gone. Missed out on Friday tix and didn't care to go out on a Thursday. I count "Mother of God" among my favorite songs of all time.

Indexed, Sunday, 29 January 2023 20:09 (one week ago) link

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