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Patty Griffin's new album "American Kid" review
  by: JoeS - Springfield, PA
started: 06/10/13 1:49 pm | updated: 06/10/13 1:49 pm
I am a recent convert to being a devotee of Patty Griffin. I really got interested in her work when I saw and heard her as part of the Robert Plant Band of Joy tour. American Kid really speaks to me on many levels; as a fan, as a veteran, as a father, as husband and as someone who has experienced loss.

I waited to hear Patty live prior to doing this album review. The live concert at Verizon Hall confirmed my belief that she has one of the greatest singers in the music business. The stripped down production and instrumentation in the album show case her great instrument, here voice!

American Kid is a tribute to her parents mostly her father. The first cut, “Go Wherever You Wanna Go” speaks to her father's journey as a soldier, a veteran, a Trappist monk and a father of seven. The influence of Cody and Luther Dickinson and Craig Ross can be heard in the balance between a let it rip approach of the Dickinsons' and the very polished approach of Craig Ross. On this album you get the best of both worlds.

Patty rocks in “Don't Let Me Die In Florida” and at the same time you hear the strange and pleasing sound of Luther on the canjo. A can made into a banjo. “Ohio” is the most highly produced of the efforts. It has a dreamy feel to it with the contribution of Robert Plant. Some have criticized his effort as over the top. I'm a Robert Plant fan, I find his effort as a compliment to her work not a distraction. One of my favorites is “ Wild Old Dog”. It feels spiritual without being religious. The imagery is simple yet deep. Doug Lancio's work on the mandolin pulls it all together.

Both “Mon & Dad's Waltz” and “Faithful Son” are statements about her father. “Mon & Dad's Waltz” is the most traditional old country cut. It is Patty at her very best! I really get caught up in Cody Dickinson's very discreet yet driving percussion on “Faithful Son”. “Highway Song” is a love song between Patty and Robert. A slow ballad laced with longing. “That Kind Of Lonely” just builds and builds until her voice , emotion and passion jumps out of my earphones into my head. It is my very favorite of this work and maybe my all time favorite. “Irish Boy” and “Get Ready Marie” are a bit different than the rest of the cuts. “Irish Boy” is just Patty and a piano , just right.

“Not A Bad Man” strikes a personal cord with me. I think it will move anyone who has gone to war. I tears up when I hear it. It is so sad, but true. She finishes with “Gonna Miss You When Your Gone”. It is on the surface a torch song yet a goodbye to her father. I hear the ballads of the 40's and 50's. A fine ending to a great album. It might be her best. I give it five stars for the sing along and four and a half for air guitar on the strength of Doug Lancio on guitar... Joe S

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