Patty Griffin’s seventh album “American Kid” has a different sound than her previous CDs. The twelve songs she presents us with are mostly heartfelt Americana tunes dedicated to her father who recently passed away. The emotional journey she takes us on is very personal, yet easily relatable for anyone who has lost a love one.
The LP opens with Go Wherever You Wanna Go which on the surface is a song about all the things you don’t have to do after you die. However, the true meaning of the song is about grief and trying to make peace with loss. That sentiment is the heart of this record and feels very genuine.
Don’t Let Me Die in Florida, an upbeat song with a touch of Memphis blues, feels somewhat out of place on this album which is full of stripped down acoustic songs. On Ohio, a duet with her rumored husband Robert Plant, she creates a haunting love song that could have been written in the early 20th Century.
“God is a wild, old dog … He don’t belong to no one now” She sings on Wild Old Dog, a song inspired by an abandoned pit bull she saw along the highway. Mom & Dad’s Waltz, the only cover in the bunch, was clearly an ode to her parents and their love. Her vocals on this cover are the strongest of the record and are just as moving as the original song recorded by Lefty Frizzell over 60 years ago.
Patty Griffin’s Ohio (featuring Robert Plant)
Faithful Son is a hauntingly, beautiful song written about her Father from his point of view. In Highway Song she sings about all of the people that have come in and out of her life over the years. That Kind of Lonely is a song about growing up and leaving the foolish things behind.
The parlor tune, Irish Boy, was written about her Fathers return from war and fits in nicely musically with Get Ready Marie. “I am not a bad man, I want you to know” she sings on Not A Bad Man, an antiwar song about a soldier returning home from war that was more than likely inspired by her Father’s stories.
The album closes with Gonna Miss You When You’re Gone, a slow, melancholy song about missing her father. The lyrics are sung with every bit of emotion you would expect in such a song.
As stripped down as the songs are on this record, it is full of hidden treasures. There are layers to each song that only reveal themselves to you after multiple listens. If you enjoy good songwriting and are willing to invest a little emotion than this one will not disappoint.
Written by Adam Gibson
OurVinyl | Contributor