A Kiss In Time

A Kiss In Time

A performer whose style slips between the cracks of country, folk, blues, and rock, Patty Griffin sounds relaxed and committed throughout this live collection from Nashville's hallowed Ryman Auditorium. Her previous studio album, 2002's 1,000 Kisses, focused her approach closer to the folk-country side, and here she recasts her entire career's material in that light with the vocal support of Emmylou Harris and Buddy and Julie Miller. Her between-song chatter shows her humor and explains a few song origins. ("Christina"—a story of unhappy heiress Christina Onassis—came to her in a dream.) She's at her empathetic best on these slow, compassionate numbers, where her voice practically weeps alongside the lonesome feelings and inescapable fear of the struggling and suffering. The accompaniment keeps up with her. The piano and strings that support "Peter Pan" and the small band that colors the swirling melody of "Rain" all benefit from a spontaneous live approach, where nothing has a chance of being reworked in retrospect. And the band still explodes into a full rock arrangement for "Tony," Griffin's horrifying tale of a gay classmate's suicide.

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