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Patty Griffin - Downtown Church (2010)


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Man, she's REALLY anxious to avoid labels and other theological specifics or jargon. Andy, I wonder if, having conducted the interview, there is any more you can say about this...about her presentation of and reaction to, um, spiritual things, for lack of a better term.

So you ladies and you gentlemen, pull your bloomers on...

-Joe Henry

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Man, she's REALLY anxious to avoid labels and other theological specifics or jargon. Andy, I wonder if, having conducted the interview, there is any more you can say about this...about her presentation of and reaction to, um, spiritual things, for lack of a better term.

Although there was more conversation that wasn't included at the CT site, I'm hesitant to say any more, Jeff. I'll put it this way: imagine that you're a fairly well known singer/songwriter, you've just recorded a gospel album, which may or may not have anything to do with your deepest beliefs, and you're speaking to a representative of a magazine called Christianity Today. Would you be a little nervous and defensive? I wouldn't read a whole lot more into it than that.

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I don't know if it's as simple as that, exactly. Her answers seem pretty routine -- right out of the "I'm 'spiritual' but don't put a label on it" playbook. It doesn't deeply offend me, but I don't come away from the interview with any indication that Griffin is a Christian.

But when I hear her music, I can't help but think that she is. Still, it doesn't really matter. As long as her songs make me feel spiritual -- moreso than almost any CCM songs -- then I'll choose to listen to her.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Fun fact (Andy touched on this in his CT article): The church where the album was recorded is Downtown Pres., here in Nashville. It's also the church where David Dark attends, and his wife, Sarah Masen, is in charge of the children's ministry. It's a couple block over from where I attend church, but I make it over there every now and then, whenever David is preaching.

Here's a video of one song, with footage from the recording session:

Edited by Stephen Lamb
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I'm liking it. I'm liking it in the way that I like all Patty Griffin albums. I don't see an enormous amount of variation from previous albums. In fact, I think it sounds an awful lot like Children Running Through. The only difference is that these are gospel numbers instead of Griffin originals. Heck, it even suffers from the same sequencing drawbacks of Children: the ill-sequenced "rock" numbers.

In a manner, I'd say that criticisms of the album lacking the bite of some rougher edged gospel albums is irrelevant. If you like Patty Griffin, you'll probably like this.

That being said, I love, love, love the final two numbers. "We Shall All Be Reuinited" and "All Creatures of Our God and King" make me want to put my head on the desk and sigh.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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What other people has Buddy Miller produced for?

I am just not convinced he was the right person to produce a gospel album for Patty.

I think Julie should start branching out too to make a decent comeback on a solo album.

Eeeks, I am the devil.

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I purposefully waited until last Tuesday's official release date to listen to this and have been enjoying it very much.

I don't get the "gospel music for white people" thing. Find the first time I heard Patty's voice (7 years ago?) it's always represented a kind of aching, spiritual, longing for me.

......

Maybe "I Smell a Rat" was included....because it's fun?

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  • 3 months later...

I'm quite enjoying it on my second listen (whereas the first had left me on a bland impression). It's a fine roots American record actually. That voice makes it again (especially on the Spanish track).

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