Thanks to the ever-amazing Spinner for profiling Patty Griffin’s new album Downtown Church this week. At this point in her career, she has yet to disappoint and seems to only get better with each release. One would certainly think this disc would follow a similar trajectory, but as of now that remains to be seen.
Playing off of the title, this disc is very much a Southern-gospel, soul-influenced effort. There’s a good chunk of scrappy singalongs and bare-bones, guttural tour-de-forces. But that middle layer of so-so songs is the part of the disc that still leaves a bit to be desired. As with most albums, it should probably only take a few repeated listens before the romance begins again, but as of now, not so sure this is worth all the advance praise. Sure having Buddy and Julie Miller, Emmylou Harris and Shawn Colvin sing on the record is a positive, and certainly she deserves kudos for chasing down a different vibe, but none of that seems to make Downtown Church any more potent.
Then again, this is the same writer that trashed Train’s Save Me San Francisco and the band is sitting at #4 on the iTunes Top 20 with “Hey Soul Sister.” So what the hell do I know?