Patty Griffin's 2013 CD "American Kid" is getting some competition from an earlier recording that was hung up in record company purgatory. Entitled "Silver Bell," Griffin here is electrified both musically and metaphorically. Always mixing a little rock n roll in her country, with a full band she cuts loose on "Little God" and "Boston." That is not to say her lyrics don't have their usual clever precision or heartbreaking themes. They wend their way throughout, possibly most devastating in "Mother of God" and "Top of the World," a song that received a wider audience thanks to the Dixie Chicks who covered it and several other Griffin tunes. "Silver Bell" is far less traditional than "American Kid." It flirts with alt-country on "Perfect White Girls" and the entrancing "Driving" with its slinky, sultry guitar riff. "Silver Bell" is a great sampler of country and folk and rock in a variety of forms by a master songwriter who understands groove always trumps the music category label.
--Cindy F., Headquarters