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American Kid

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Editors’ Notes

With her first studio album since 2007's Children Running Through, Patty Griffin reflects on the impact her father—who was dying before her eyes—made on her life. Whether it's a slow, calm cover of Lefty Frizzell's honky-tonk hit "Mom and Dad's Waltz" or her own unflinching "Go Wherever You Wanna Go," Griffin elicits a natural and understated performance from her backing band, which includes Luther and Cody Dickinson of The North Mississippi All-Stars. Her creative and romantic partner, Robert Plant, contributes vocals to three tunes, including the droning blues of "Ohio," where—in a tale inspired by Toni Morrison's Beloved—runaway slaves plan a meeting that ominously might not happen. "Highway Song," "That Kind of Lonely," and "Not a Bad Man" are the sort of haunting folk-country ballads that have been Griffin's forte since her start in the Boston coffeehouses; a few simple notes dropping down the scale create an unspeakable sorrow. "Gonna Miss You When You're Gone" stirs from an old folk haze to offer words to her father, which aren't sufficient considering the size of her loss. It's heartbreaking stuff.

Customer Reviews

Love It!

Nearly everything Patty Griffin does is phenomenal. Ohio is no exception. Not to sound too old, but I could always rely on her style of music to remain constant. In this crazy world we live in, there is great comfort in that. Music has always been a saving grace. Thank you Patty for providing a little bit of comfort and a chance to breath for a minute.

No one else is like Patty

She could record herself gargling and I would buy it. And love it.

Not her best, just darn good

Patty has the voice of an angel and the songwriting skills to match. This isn't my favorite release from her by a long shot but it's still Patty. She's in an elite group of singer songwriters in my book. Any release from her is cause for celebration and guaranteed new songs added to my library. She is a truly special talent.


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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