A Kiss in Time
First Appeared at The Music Box, January 2004, Volume 11, #1
Written by John Metzger
In the wake of a massive corporate merger, Patty Griffin lost her contract with A&M, and having nothing left to lose, she settled into the home studio of friend and guitarist Doug Lancio to record a few tracks "just for fun." It’s not unusual for these types of relaxed, easy-going, no-pressure projects to yield career-defining moments, and such was the case with Griffin’s wildly successful 1000 Kisses, which garnered rave reviews, grabbed a Grammy nomination, and launched a 10-month tour that concluded at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, the prestigious home of the Grand Ole Opry. The recently released A Kiss in Time features nearly an hour’s worth of highlights from this event and includes material culled largely from her hit album as well as its predecessor Flaming Red. Though it gives little indication as to where Griffin will head on her next effort, which incidentally is due in early 2004, it does offer a shimmering overview of her career thus far. The set shows her to be a passionate performer with a powerful voice that simultaneously exudes great strength and tremendous vulnerability as well as a songwriter who isn’t afraid to tackle heavy subjects — Tony is about a former high school classmate who was so persecuted for his sexual orientation that he was driven to commit suicide, while Christina ponders the life of an heiress who finally finds joy within the eyes of her child, only to suffer a heart attack and die. Combining elements of country and folk, her songs also are adorned with the essence of rock ’n‘ roll. This undoubtedly has caused many rightfully to compare her with Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, and the Indigo Girls, and if Griffin’s formula isn’t entirely unique, she successfully makes it work with an emotional display that lifts her music above that of the typical singer-songwriter. Consequently, A Kiss in Time is a captivating collection full of subtle beauty and puissant poignancy, one that finds Griffin being anything but complacent about her newfound popularity. ½
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box