February 11, 2010


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Patty Griffin, Downtown Church
Credential Records, Dec. 26

Not to diss, but Patty Griffin’s timing couldn’t be better — trains, penny sales, mud, Americana and old-time religion are things that NPR and similar whitey snobs with short attention spans can’t resist. The people who’d really get a kick out of this are the Mormons of Big Love and all mythical saintly creatures great and small from the Bible Belt — plenty of slow Sunday Mass piano (played for all it’s worth in closer “All Creatures Of Our God And King”), a few reverent Hallelujahs, some Bo Diddly guitar being broadcast from somewhere on Mars (“If I Had My Way”), it’s all good, and I mean that in the goodest way. But there’s enough rust in the manifold to rope in the types who wonder where Bonnie Raitt gets all her great ideas, such as the skeleton-ghostly Baptist-spiritual “Wade in the Water” and the visibly drunk “I Smell a Rat.” Griffin capitalizes on her upper-crust status with some big-name guests this time out, including her own near-doppelganger Emmylou Harris. AEric W. Saeger