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Organic beauty

Children Running Through
Children Running Through
By Patty Griffin

ATO Records: 2007

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This review first appeared in the March 8, 2007 issue of the North County Times.

Possessed of as lovely a voice as exists in popular music today, and writer of some of the most beautiful songs you'll ever hear, Patty Griffin's absence from the rolls of superstardom can only be attributed to the fact that her music can't easily be labeled. Taking in huge swaths of jazz, folk, rock and country, there's no pre-made radio slot to stick her in.

So let's simply place her with Emmylou Harris (who provides a duet vocal on one track here, "Trapeze") and Rickie Lee Jones, two other singer-songwriters whose stylistic dexterity has prevented them from being as widely recognized as their talents deserve.

On her sixth album, Griffin and co-producer Mike McCarthy give her songs and singing a backdrop that manages to be full without being overbearing or intrusive. Adding an eight-piece string section behind the standard guitar-bass-drum rock/jazz combo provides a certain sheen yet maintains an earthy, natural sound.

And that's what utlimately defines the music on "Children Running Through": Grounded, organic music performed with talent and love.

Too bad radio hasn't discovered that format yet.