SID GRIFFIN –The Trick Is To Breathe

Album: The Trick Is To Breathe

Artist: Sid Griffin

Label: Prima

Release Date: September 16, 2014

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Singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, biographer and bandleader Sid Griffin has been plying his craft for the better part of 30 years, helming such bands as the Long Ryders and the Coal Porters, as well as proceeding along quite nicely on his own. At the same time, he’s never neglected either his own roots or those of the forebears who inspired him early on – specifically, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan and the Band. He’s so intent on offering homage that he’s dedicated entire albums to covering the works of Messers Clark and Hillman, and has authored lengthy tomes on Dylan and Parsons in particular. Yet Griffin is clearly moved by far more than mere scholarly pursuits, and each of his albums reflect an astute enthusiasm for roots music in all its forms.

Not surprisingly then, The Trick Is To Breathe, Griffin’s latest individual outing — and only his third solo studio album overall — finds him offering a reverent nod to past precedents, with ample samplings of bluegrass, country rock and subdued ballads flush full of meditative desire. The melodies mostly take their cues from the sensual, supple sway of Griffin’s vocals (which  evoke an overtly soft pop sound ala Al Stewart or Stephen Bishop) and the tasteful arrangements which make ample use of banjo, mandolin, fiddle and dobro. Griffin is first and foremost a storyteller, no whether he’s alluding to backstage mishaps (“Ode to Bobbie Gentry”), subdued soldier stories (“Between the General & the Grave,” “Everywhere”) or a spoken dialogue about the apparent anger generated from a harrowing musical haunt (“Punk Rock Club”).

Mainly though, Griffin chooses to navigate through familiar Americana environs, always proving himself to be on firm footing. If indeed the key to existence is simply the ability to breathe, then Griffin knows how to inhale his influences.

DOWNLOAD: “Ode to Bobbie Gentry,”  “Between the General & the Grave,” “Everywhere”

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