14 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Patty Griffin is that rare roots-music artist who brings new life to the old forms. Folk, country, and blues have become one in her hands, and with 2010’s Downtown Church she delves further into gospel. The album was recorded at Nashville's Downtown Presbyterian Church by Buddy Miller and features guest spots from Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, Raul Malo, and Jim Lauderdale. Hank Williams’ “House of Gold” is given a slow, ghostly read, while “Move Up” with Lauderdale, Miller, and Ann and Regina McCrary turns to an uptown blues shuffle for its gospel shout. “If I Had My Way” swirls with a full band blast. Griffin kicks it up with the Big Mama Thornton blues “I Smell a Rat” and pounds out a field holler with “Death’s Got a Warrant,” but she’s at her most gripping at her gentlest. The country-folk ballad “Little Fire” with Emmylou Harris is a stirring moment of tenderness, where the two singers do what comes naturally.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Patty Griffin is that rare roots-music artist who brings new life to the old forms. Folk, country, and blues have become one in her hands, and with 2010’s Downtown Church she delves further into gospel. The album was recorded at Nashville's Downtown Presbyterian Church by Buddy Miller and features guest spots from Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, Raul Malo, and Jim Lauderdale. Hank Williams’ “House of Gold” is given a slow, ghostly read, while “Move Up” with Lauderdale, Miller, and Ann and Regina McCrary turns to an uptown blues shuffle for its gospel shout. “If I Had My Way” swirls with a full band blast. Griffin kicks it up with the Big Mama Thornton blues “I Smell a Rat” and pounds out a field holler with “Death’s Got a Warrant,” but she’s at her most gripping at her gentlest. The country-folk ballad “Little Fire” with Emmylou Harris is a stirring moment of tenderness, where the two singers do what comes naturally.

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