Patty Griffin – Downtown Church

January 01, 1970

(EMI/Credential)

www.emicmg.com

 

When Patty Griffin first announced her intent to record a
gospel album, more than a few eyebrows were raised in skepticism. Never mind
the fact she has one of the purest voices in contemporary music or that the
Blind Boys of Alabama made a reverse secular crossover with an all-star cast
via their recent Duets CD.  Far too often, the desire to shore up the
spirit is well intentioned, even if the end results seem to be mired in more
commercial considerations.

 

Those worried about some sort of washed-out, half-baked
attempt at conveying dutiful devotion needn’t be concerned as far as Griffin’s efforts are
concerned. Like Emmylou Harris, one of her more frequent collaborators, Griffin’s sentiments are
clearly heartfelt, a genuine heartland sensibility that doesn’t sacrifice
purity for false piety. Put simply, Griffin
pours her soul into these songs, whether wailing emphatically on the searing
“Waiting for My Child” or gracefully cooing plaintive homespun laments like
“House of Gold,” “Coming Home to Me” and “Never Grow Old.”  So while she avoids sacrificing her rootsier
inclinations, Griffin
still manages to court conviction with the sinewy “If I Had My Way,” the
rousing “Move Up” and the fervent “Wade in the Water.”  Steady collaborators Harris, Buddy and Julie
Miller and Shawn Colvin are back on board, along with Raul Malo and Jim
Lauderdale, but Griffin
deserves all the kudos.

 

Indeed, Downtown Church is just the thing to convert nonbelievers. 

 

Standout
Tracks
: “If I Had My Way,” “House of Gold,” “Wade in the Water”
LEE ZIMMERMAN

 

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