Home > In the Spotlight, Sunday Morning Music > Sunday Morning Music: the Lost Patty Griffin Album

Sunday Morning Music: the Lost Patty Griffin Album

December 15, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

SilverBell

by Cat Johnson

In 2000, Patty Griffin recorded an album, titled Silver Bell, at Daniel Lanois’ Kingsway Studio in New Orleans. But, caught in the middle of a corporate upheaval, the album was buried. Though bootleg versions of it have been making the rounds since then, the album was never officially released, until now. Available on both CD and vinyl, Silver Bell is an interesting glimpse back at who Griffin, one of the great songwriters of our time, was 13 years ago.

While not every track is a stunner, there are some outstanding songs here. The standout for me is “Top of the World,” which features spookily beautiful background vocals by Griffin’s mom. Another is “Truth #2.” Coincidentally, these are both tracks that the Dixie Chicks (who are big Griffin fans) covered and made famous. Dixie Chicks frontwoman Natalie Maines, who has long been a fan of Griffin and Silver Bell, jokes that she wanted to remake the whole album.

“I heard that it was being re-released and I was like, ‘Awww shit,'” she told Billboard, then jokingly adds, “I can’t believe she’s putting out this album of Dixie Chicks cover tunes.”

patty-griffin_silver-430

Silver Bell is a textured, soulful listen, but if you’re wanting an album of stripped-down, acoustic numbers, grab one of her many other albums. This one definitely has slow, stark, beautiful numbers but it also has distorted guitar, rocking ones that see Griffin far from her usual territory. The title track is one of these, as is “Boston” and “One More Girl.”

While my personal preference is the stripped-down stuff that spotlights Griffin’s enchanting and unguarded voice, it’s great to hear the other side of her creativity; one that lets loose into the full band, hard-rocking sound found on Silver Bell.

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