First Listen: Patty Griffin's 'Downtown Church' : NPR
First Listen: Patty Griffin's 'Downtown Church'
January 15, 2010 from WKSU - Downtown Church, Patty Griffin's seventh album, is the equivalent of a slow walk into a field of wildflowers — a journey in which you look up at a bluebird sky and take a deep breath with your eyes closed. It sounds like the soundtrack to a spiritual awakening, which makes sense, given that it's a gospel album: On it, two Griffin originals rub alongside gospel standards, including "Wade in the Water" and "Waiting for My Child."
It was EMI's Peter York who first suggested that Griffin record an album of gospel songs — not such a strange idea, if you think about it. After all, she's got the huge vocal range necessary to sing gospel music, along with years of experience writing about life, loss, praise and sorrow. It's also not so strange when you consider that Griffin herself has long believed that gospel music is the foundation of, well, everything.
She got to work with Buddy Miller (among other friends, including Emmylou Harris, Jim Lauderdale and a couple members of the royal family of gospel, Regina and Ann McCrary), producing an album that's so mesmerizing, it's difficult to believe Griffin isn't a card-carrying member of The Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville. (That's where she recorded the album last January.)
But what makes Downtown Church even more relevant — and, frankly, more touching — is that Griffin says she's working through complicated feelings about religion and her own sense of faith. Downtown Church is her way of exploring those feelings. For the rest of us, the music is just plain good. And, for some of us, it's a feel-good re-introduction to ideas and feelings that might be uncomfortably familiar.
Downtown Church will be available in stores on Jan. 26, but you can hear it here, in its entirety, between now and then.
As we got into puberty, I think things became harder for my Dad. We had things like periods, and boobs, and hormones. Oh, the hormones. So I think he had a hard time relating, but he tried to teach us what he could about life in his own way. Unfortunately his attempts at teaching us life lessons were often lost on me at the time. "Look out, and see what you can see. You're missing a lot by not looking out the window." What he'd say to us on long car trips, when we were bored, usually picking fights with each other, and couldn't wait to get back home to talk to our best friend or see our latest crush. Other Dad sayings: "Don't pop off!" - what he'd say if we smarted back to him. "Square up!" - if we were slouching at the dinner table. "Any blood coming out? If no one's bleeding, I don't want to hear anything." - what he'd say on car trips if we complained that "so-and-so hit me!"
He coached our church league teams - basketball and softball. I remember being glad that he was coaching them, proud that he was my Dad, and I could tell he really enjoyed it. It was a way for him to relate to us and be a part of our growth as human beings despite us being hormonal teenage girls. He also joined the men's softball league for a few years. He started training to get in shape for it. I remember one night I went outside and he had me race him. And he won. I was pretty quick then, too. I was surprised, and I think he liked that he had surprised me and was also proud of the progress he had made to get in shape. I always enjoyed watching him play. He usually was pitcher, and was always good at strategy, too.
He was a teacher, and in the summer he would mow apartment complexes and clean pools. We often went along to help and would get paid for our efforts.
In the past decade, he's become the photographer/videographer for many family events. I am so grateful for all the time he has put in to compiling videos of everything - all sorts of events over the years that are now on DVDs. It will be nice to have those.
He's older now, so he doesn't do many of the things he used to do. But they still have a garden. The last time I was at my parents' house, I was inside watching him outside checking the garden. Going down the rows, he'd point at each plant as he checked it: "You're ok...you're ok...you're ok...you're ok..." he seemed to be saying to himself as he passed each one, in mannerisms of his I know so well. Although I don't always see eye-to-eye with him on things, I hope he thinks the same thing when he looks at his daughters.
Meet Neely. She's so sweet. Even if she did chew up my glasses. She knew I needed a new, more stylish pair, and was just trying to help me be more fashionable. And her peeing on the bed just meant I should live a little and stay up later. To clean up pee. And when she rolled around in that poop? She was just making sure my sense of smell was still working correctly.
We have had some fun - went to movies in the park at Centennial and two different greenways. I am glad we had her on the greenway last night - we came across a coyote! She is currently in the bed laying across my legs sleeping away. And I think I've gotten a little attached...awww.