Search - Patty Griffin :: Downtown Church

Downtown Church
Patty Griffin
Downtown Church
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1

Hailed as one of Americana and folk music's most esteemed artists, Patty Griffin has sold over a million records and was awarded with the Americana Music Association's highest honor as "Artist Of The Year" in 2007. Griffin...  more »

     
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CD Details

All Artists: Patty Griffin
Title: Downtown Church
Members Wishing: 9
Total Copies: 0
Label: Credential Rec.
Original Release Date: 1/1/2010
Re-Release Date: 1/26/2010
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
Style:
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 5099969344329

Synopsis

Album Description
Hailed as one of Americana and folk music's most esteemed artists, Patty Griffin has sold over a million records and was awarded with the Americana Music Association's highest honor as "Artist Of The Year" in 2007. Griffin has received multiple Grammy nominations and has toured the country relentlessly, creating avid followers wherever her music is heard. She is a natural songbird that can hush an audience with her performances, but Griffin's power is in her passionate storytelling with a voice that is mournful yet uplifting. Patty Griffin's new album, Downtown Church, is a collection of Gospel-infused songs produced by longtime friend, bandmate and acclaimed producer Buddy Miller at the Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. Downtown Church brings to life Gospel songs that have influenced contemporary music in a way that only Patty Griffin can do.

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CD Reviews

This time, light wins
D. B. Hutchens | Nashville, TN | 01/26/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I, like lots of others, was a little worried when I heard that Patty Griffin's newest effort was a gospel/spirituals recording. For me, the concern wasn't so much that I dislike the genre, but that I couldn't bear a Patty Griffin album full of someone else's lyrics. Patty is one of our great poets, and the world needs the gift of her words -- weary, wise, and every now and then containing a glimmer of hope and light.

As it turns out, this genre has plenty of that, and Patty Griffin seems right at home on the stage of that downtown Nashville house of worship. "People steal / they cheat and lie..." So begins the record, and over the course of 14 tracks Patty Griffin struggles between light and dark that lives inside us. It's epic, and very, very beautiful.

I know a lot of folks aren't fans of "gospel," but the good news is that this record really has more of an "O Brother" arthouse feel that will play nicely in the kitchen when friends are over.

Check out "Death's Got a Warrant." It's a capella except for the thudding percussion that sounds like God stomping across the floor as he comes after you.

The first time I heard the final track, "All Creatures of our God and King," I had to stop what I was doing. It is so pure and lovely, it almost feels... well, sacred.

The revelation on here is Patty's voice. Honestly, I don't think she has ever sounded this good. "I Smell a Rat" is a showstopper, and man is she is spitting nails. I didn't know she had it in her.

I'm ready to place "Downtown Church" at the top of her brilliant catalog. Like the rest of her work, it is full of sadness and a weary awareness of the darkness around us. But this time she's carrying a fire and although there are never guarantees, a little bit of light just might break through."
Heartfelt and at times, uplifting music - with Patty in fine
Colin Spence | Formby, UK | 01/26/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"With 'Downtown Church', Patty Griffin presents the listener with a selection of gospel/religious songs including several traditional numbers. I think she has one of the most expressive and soulful voices to be heard in popular music today; compared with earlier albums, her vocals have mellowed a little, but she hasn't lost any of her distinctive emotional and soulful edge - it's still there simmering away. 'Downtown Church' was mostly recorded in Nashville's Downtown Presbyterian Church with Patty singing from the pulpit; she is joined by a number of other artists, some of whom have accompanied her on recent tours (see sample playlist).

I don't think the album quite re-captures the stridency and raw emotion of 'Living With Ghosts' and, with only 2 self-penned songs, it's not an album which showcases her skill as song-writer. However, I feel it represents a significant departure from 'Children Running Through' which, in my opinion, was an album of music produced and performed with a wider and more mainstream audience in mind. By comparison, 'Downchurch Church' has a definite organic feel to it - noticeably more so when compared with the soulful 'gospel-pop' of 'Up to the Mountain' or even the cathartic 'Standing' from 'Impossible Dream'.


Instrumental accompaniment is semi-acoustic with keyboards and electric guitars (but they are never intrusive), and the drums/percussion (on some songs) give the album a little more rhythmic impetus than most of her others. The songs are mainly slow to medium tempo, but there are a few up-tempo ones also; some comments about my favourite songs :

HOUSE OF GOLD (Hank Williams) - A haunting rendition of this country-gospel classic with lyrics which define its apocalyptic mood. Sung mainly to the accompaniment of acoustic guitar and subdued organ (occasional acoustic bass and electric guitar also), no drums/percussion (that I could hear).

LITTLE FIRE (Patty Griffin) - Beautiful slow-tempo song in Patty's 'classic' style. It features mellow electric guitar and strains of plaintive pedal steel; also acoustic bass and delicate brushed drums. Emmylou Harris supports with harmony vocals.

IF I HAD MY WAY (SAMSON AND DELILAH) (traditional/Rev. Gary Davis) - Up-tempo song featuring Patty and the McCrary sisters singing in a call and response pattern - guaranteed to get you up off your chair and clapping your hands. Resonant, twangy electric guitar and super drumming/percussion. Just when the song really starts to groove, it finishes (but you can always play it again).

VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE (traditional) - Patty certainly has a deft vocal touch when she sings in Spanish - if you liked her singing 'Mil Besos', you should like this also (although it is a different style of song). Smooth harmonies from Raul Malo - plus acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, accordion and piano all adding to the Mexican flavour of this slow tempo song.

ALL CREATURES OF OUR GOD AND KING (traditional) - This 13th. century hymn written, in its original form, by Saint Francis of Assisi is beautifully sung by Patty - she drops her characteristic soulfulness to give the song a 'straight' rendition. Accompaniment is from piano and acoustic bass only.

Other favourites are : 'Wade In the Water', 'Never Grow Old' and 'Waiting For My Child'. A couple of songs were not for me : 'Coming Home To Me' is a great song but, for some reason, I couldn't take to its arrangement or Julie Miller's accompanying vocals; also, 'I Smell A Rat' is more akin to early rock 'n' roll than gospel - it's an OK song, but not one of Leiber & Stoller's best.


'Downtown Church' is a fine album alright, but it remains to be seen whether the somewhat more 'specialized' nature of the music affords it the same wide appeal as her other albums. '1000 Kisses' still remains my favourite album by Patty Griffin, but this one comes close.
"
An Atheist Says Amen!
jd103 | 02/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've been a fan of Patty Griffin since her days as an opening act at a small club in Harvard Square, when I was telling everyone who would listen that she was going to be a big star. Although I've always preferred those early days of just her guitar and big voice, I've bought all the subsequent music. Still, I was going to skip this one because of the subject matter.

Then I listened to online samples of her incredible voice and some very good music. I bought the CD on the way to dinner at a friend's house, played it there, click, another sale. I think this is going to be one of many people's favorite Griffin recordings.

I'm not a literal believer in a lot of these lyrics, but the style provides a great opportunity for letting her voice wrap around you, and the music, whether from moaning pedal steel or the deep steady beat of percussion, will encourage you to sway along. I love the dedication of the CD to Nashville's homeless and those who help and comfort them. You needn't be a believer to get similar comfort from this music. Play it loud!"