Patty Griffin

Patty Griffin

For as sparse and naturalistic as Patty Griffin’s music sounds, there’s always been something mystical about it, the sense of an undercurrent bridging inner and outer space, making the rivers, highways, and other ordinary scenes of her songs vibrate with an almost mythic resonance. Recorded in the wake of a battle with breast cancer, Patty Griffin is uncommonly intimate even for Griffin, transforming images of a waitress at work into chilling omens of biblical danger (“Coins”), running water into a metaphor for a woman’s tireless strength (“River”), and violence into a means of personal transformation (“Bluebeard”). There are no morals here, no cozy sentiments or easy answers. Instead, we get visions, questions, and resolve without resolution. Or, as Griffin puts it on “Luminous Places,” “Love flows out of these luminous places/Love lies down in the deep of the sea/Falls out of the sky in millions of pieces on me”—a shattered love, but love nevertheless.

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