An Acoustic Evening With Patty Griffin & Lee Ann Womack
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The first quiet piano notes of the title track of Patty Griffin's new album Servent of Love evoke a sense of mystery." I want to live by your ocean/Moved by the waves/No one can see." Go further into this haunting, jazz-steeped meditation, and that sense turns into a spell. With lulling piano, fathoms-deep bowed bass and improvisational trumpet floating above like a swooping gull, Griffin conjures the call of the depths of literal and metophorical terms ("words of the deep, calling to me...") and invites us on her odyssey to answer that call.
Very much in the traditions of American transcendental writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, and mystical poets like Rumi and Rainer Maria Rilke, Patty Griffin grounds her themes of love and mystery in the experience and rhythms of the everyday, the stuff of life. Servent of Love takes on big ideas, but does so in the vernacular of folk tales, blues cants and jazz gestures. Griffin characteristic expressive vocals - equal measures passion and poignancy - and her potent songwriting blur the lines between the personal and the political. These songs move and persuade while they dive deep.
These songs move and persuade while they dive deep. In case we think a pilgrimage into mystery is some esoteric undertaking, Griffin pulls us by the collar down into the greasy juke joint of songs like “Gunpowder,” where the most craven desires of the human animal hold sway.“ Robbing cradles and the graves/Just realistic, not depraved.../...Draining rivers till they're dry/I just like to, I don’t know why.” Explore the human heart, Griffin seems to say, and you will find darkness.