Patty Griffin

Texas platters

Phases and Stages

Patty Griffin

Impossible Dream (ATO) There's a school of thought that says we're all driven by an unnameable something, a vague but pleasurable psychic tickle. On her latest release, Impossible Dream, Patty Griffin has mastered the art of drawing attention to the nameless, achy yearning inside all of us, swaddling it in anger, desire, sadness, and joy. The album starts out with the knee-slapping, driving "Love Throw a Line," its momentum akin to a train song. From there, Griffin delves into her sometimes bitter, always bewitching narratives, spinning yarns of lonely people on the move, physically and spiritually. "Top of the World" is some of Griffin's best storytelling. It chronicles a husband's lifetime regret as he dies in his easy chair, longing to take death's wings. At the close of the song, an elderly couple duet on the Broadway standard "Impossible Dream," the man's voice abruptly leaving the woman to finish alone. Not too subtle? Perhaps. Heartbreaking? Absolutely. It's "Mother of God" encapsulating that strange something that defines existence, however. The narrator's tired, jaded, but mysteriously hopeful as she sings, "I went to Florida like everyone sick of the cold does. I waited on old people waiting to die. I waited on them until I was." Chilling, but the hope lacing the despair is exactly what constitutes life, and Griffin is an expert at capturing that energy.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Melanie Haupt
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Local sotol makers offer the critical commodity free of cost

March 20, 2020

Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Dishes for sharing (or not) at this tiny Nepalese restaurant

Feb. 14, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Patty Griffin

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle