Patty Griffin

Children Running Through (ATO)

Texas Platters

Patty Griffin

Children Running Through (ATO)

As brushed snares and upright bass usher in "You'll Remember," the torch song opening Patty Griffin's fifth album, Children Running Through, fans of the Austin singer-songwriter will feel that familiar thrill of letting her new material seep into their persons. From the start, Griffin's demonstrated a preternatural ability to craft songs that bring folks to their knees, songs like "Making Pies" and "Long Ride Home" on 2002's 1000 Kisses, and follow-up Impossible Dream's "Useless Desires." These songs lend a powerful feminine (and even feminist) voice to those who are too broken to speak for themselves. While the tracks on Children Running Through that should be emotional ringers, "Trapeze," a duet with Emmylou Harris featuring the two steel magnolias weaving their voices together in a breathtaking aural tapestry, and "Burgundy Shoes," are both lovingly written and performed, they lack the resonance of material from Griffin's previous two albums. By now, these songs that writhe under the weight of life's tragedies and unfulfilled dreams are starting to feel a bit … done. Has Griffin lost touch with the incandescent anger that fueled her previous work? It's hard to tell. Meanwhile, Children's growth feels stunted.

**.5

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