Sunday, 20 June, 2010 12:22 PM
Griffin kicks off the 2010 Ann Arbor Summer Festival
ARBOR, Mich. -- From the altar of
the Ann Arbor Power Center's stage Thursday night, Patty Griffin
and Buddy Miller cast down thunder and tranquility with sets featuring
homage to their musical influence and samples of their newest compositions.
from the duo and their backup band serves as a single stop in the
middle of a tour marking the release of Griffin's album Downtown
Church, a more gospel-leaning collection that nevertheless embraces
Griffin's country style. At least that's what it sounded like amid
two sets of back-and-forth bombastic rockers and acoustic sedations.
set belonged to Buddy, although Patty still managed to strut her
way on as a backup vocal following the first number. "I slip
him $50 every night to let me [sing along]," she joked to the
audience later on.
seem as though Buddy patterned his song lineup as an ongoing switch
between electric and acoustic sound, establishing a minute expectation
of what could come next. A portion of it would comprise of selections
from the 2009 release Written in Chalk, including the bluesier "Gasoline
and Matches" (which according to Miller was in a recent episode
of the HBO series True Blood).
the most endearing story behind the album was provided by Griffin:
"The day it was released, he had to have triple bypass surgery."
Be it coincidence or planned timing, Miller was in good spirits
to humorously dismiss it as a sales advantage. "it's exciting
for the record company."
Miller, Griffin, and the gang aimed to perform a new take on the
old forms for the upcoming era. "The objective was to mess
up a few country songs," Miller said, before launching into
a Lefty Frizzell-dedicated number that sounded more like a Duane
second set came a role swap as Ms. Griffin was now at the front
mic. For her set, as with the theme of the new album, Griffin explained
she gained an idea of how to approach it with help from Buddy's
iTunes library. "He must have 86,000 songs."
selected for the album, and ended up performed that night, consisted
of cover renditions of the likes of Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings
and the Reverend Alfred G. Carnes, the source material mostly traditional
yet at times exhibiting a rockabilly romp right down to the backing
was still room for original pieces from Griffin herself such as
"Coming Home to Me" and the jest-fully raunchy "Get
Ready Marie," which she described as "a sexy song about
my grandparents" inspired by their old wedding photo.
two hours and a half managed to be one of personal exchange right
down to current events, with Patty at one point inquiring about
the NBA Finals game seven on behalf of her Boston-based backup musicians.
a reasonable return for an encore, the night seemed to conclude
with a somber benediction that fitted the dimming of lights of the
words Patty channeled that spanned the legacy of Americana and Spiritual
musical across generations.
more information on the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, visit www.annarborsummerfestival.org.
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