First Appeared at The Music Box, April 2003, Volume 10, #4
Written by T.J. Simon
Each year when the Grammy nominations are released, I make a beeline to the nominees in the Best Contemporary Folk Album category. Although itís a grouping deemed unworthy for inclusion on the Grammy Awards broadcast, itís always the most eclectic and interesting mix of artists among the celebrated genres. Contemporary Folk serves as a catch-all category where Zydeco artists compete with alt-country and acoustic rock stalwarts. Past winners have included Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Tom Waits, John Prine, and Bruce Springsteen. The 2003 Best Contemporary Folk Album winner was This Side, the splendid "youthgrass" release from Nickel Creek that beat out an equally likable effort from a Boston singer-songwriter named Patty Griffin.
Gentle acoustic guitar strumming, quiet vibraphone, some cello, and a hint of accordion provide the sparse, almost weightless, musical accompaniment to Griffinís voice on her nominated album 1000 Kisses. Far from being overblown, Griffin includes only 10 songs on the CD, including a cover of Bruce Springsteenís Stolen Car and a fantastic Spanish language ditty Mil Besos (the title track ó comprende?). Her original numbers are a step above standard coffeehouse fare largely due to Griffinís alluring voice ó a mixture of Joni Mitchell, Nanci Griffith, and Toni Price. The highlight of the disc is the torchy, Gershwin-esque Tomorrow Night containing a muted trumpet interlude at the bridge that takes the listener straight to paradise. Even if the Academy didn't reward Griffin with un-televised accolades, her voice and music will certainly reward those who fall for her 1000 Kisses.
1000 Kisses is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box