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Flaming Red

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Album Review

Patty Griffin's Living with Ghosts was an impressive debut, but its spare acoustic arrangements occasionally made it sound more like a sketchbook than a completed album. Shortly after its release, her label commissioned a new version of "Let Him Fly," which matched her vocals to a full live band. Satisfied with the results, Griffin decided to flesh out the instrumentation on her second album Flaming Red and the results are revelatory. Griffin didn't stick with traditional rock arrangments — she also recorded country-rock, folk, catchy pop and even trip-hop songs, as well. Instead of camouflaging her songwriting, it actually reveals the richness of her music and lyrics. Her sonic revision may be more accessible, but it's no compromise — Flaming Red is evidence that Griffin is one the more talented and ambitious singer/songwriters to emerge in the late '90s.

Customer Reviews


This record is synonymous with ‘one of the greats’, for me personally, up there with ‘The Velvet Underground and Nico’ and ‘the Dark Side of the Moon’, believe it or not. It has some of the most emotionally intense and contemplative songs I know, great arrangements and production, and a really good spectrum of styles, relative to the female singer-songwriter fare of the nineties. Some of the songs are loud, ruckus-starting rockers, others are really catchy pop, and others are songs that have contemplative, dark, and redemptive lyrics. Even the songs people might classify as ‘filler’ have emotional resonance with me (“Big Daddy”, “Go Now”). If you like it, you might also like her albums ‘Living With Ghosts’ and ‘Impossible Dream’, both of which have a similar sound but still sound incredible and deliver great songs.


While this is my least favorite album of hers, Griffin is still remarkable. In the vast scope of disappointing, trite and predictable lyrics that goes with what's popular in the music world today, combined with a headshaking and stunning lack of musicianship and talent, all heaped on top of arrangements that are unbelieveably shallow and poorly thought is truely a wonder that we can find a gem in amongst the garbage. While some of the songs here reveal her beginnings, othres head in future directions, pointing ahead...signs of the wonderful direction Griffin is heading: tunes like Goodbye and Mary.


Born: March 16, 1964 in Old Town, ME

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A singer and songwriter whose literate, impressionistic storytelling and richly evocative melodies have made her one of the best-respected artists in the contemporary folk community, Patty Griffin was born in Old Town, Maine on March 16, 1964. The youngest of seven children, Griffin was 16 years old when she bought her first guitar for $50. While Griffin learned to play, she showed no interest in making music a career in her teens and twenties; however, when her marriage broke up in 1992, Griffin,...
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