Patty Griffin

Downtown Church (Credential)

Texas Platters

Patty Griffin

Downtown Church (Credential)

After hinting at an affection for gospel music on 2007's Children Running Through, her hugely successful last disc, and recording a duet with Mavis Staples on last year's gospel celebration/compilation Oh Happy Day, Patty Griffin delivers a collection of spiritual moments with Downtown Church. The title refers to the album being recorded at the Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville, and with her guitarist friend Buddy Miller in the producer's chair, it's another step forward for Griffin the singer. Miller's near perfect in this role; his own LPs always flirt with gospel. But his trademark echo and roar allow Griffin's voice to shine in ways that are dynamic and exhilarating. Covering tunes from the tradition as well as Hank Williams, Big Mama Thornton, and even St. Francis of Assisi, the flame-haired Austin diva stretches into unfamiliar territory. Belying her Yankee roots, Griffin belts and croons like a Texas blues mama on the familiar "Wade in the Water" and the obscure "I Smell a Rat." There's also traditional church fare like the solemn set closer "All Creatures of Our God and King." Griffin could have skated on the success of her last effort, but Downtown Church is a gutsy move, one that's as haunting and original as anything in her past. (Patty Griffin and Jack Ingram headline the Grounded in Music fundraiser at the Paramount Theatre, Thursday, Jan. 21.)

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 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 Patty Griffin
Texas Platters
Patty Griffin
Servant of Love (Record Review)

Abby Johnston, Oct. 23, 2015

Texas Platters
Patty Griffin
Silver Bell (Record Review)

Abby Johnston, Oct. 11, 2013

More Music Reviews
Sunday ACL Fest 2018 Record Reviews
Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes (Record Review)

Isabella Castro-Cota, Oct. 12, 2018

Sunday ACL Fest 2018 Record Reviews
Travis Scott
Astroworld (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Oct. 12, 2018

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

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

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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