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For the first time since 2007's "Children Running Through" Patty Griffin has recorded an album of original material and its quiet wonder. "American Kid" is an album of songs largely dedicated to her extraordinary father, a former Second World War veteran, Trappist monk and parent of seven and is a deeply personal statement which in turn makes for one of her finest and most introspective records. Her voice throughout is in turns sweet, haunting and pristine and she is backed by a variety of premier division musicians not least North Mississippi Allstars/brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson and fellow Band of Joy member Robert Plant. Indeed there has been much online speculation about whether Percy and Patty are married or not? Griffin has recently dismissed this but they are clearly soul mates and Plant sings backing on three of the album tracks.

Griffin bookends this album with two songs about the death of her father that are raw yet considerably lifted by her searing vocals. The album commences with open-hearted "Go Wherever You Wanna Go." infused with lines which reference her fathers life and a nod to his journey to a higher spiritual plane. It is a genuinely lovely feast but is easily matched by the closing sweet melancholy of the bluesy "Gonna Miss You When You're Gone," where she wears a broken heart on her sleeve and we respond by trying to hide that large lump in our throats. In between Griffin shows that she is now every bit the equal of the great country singers like Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris with some stellar songs. One of these is a superb duet with Plant on "Ohio" a haunting alt country lament with an excellent accompanying video. " The album's only cover, Lefty Frizzell's classic "Mom and Dad's Waltz," is very well executed with a sparse sounding guitar and mandolin accompanying Griffin's tremendous singing. More hard edged support comes from the Dickenson brothers on the more rocking blues of "Don't let me die in Florida" where Griffin shows her versatility. In the midst of all this we get effortless Griffin acoustic ballads like the aching "Wild old dog", the slow country of "Mom and Dad's Waltz" and the deeply sad piano lament "Irish Boy" which is just plain wonderful. The mood is lifted by the old time jaunty skiffle of "Get Ready Marie" but overall the ambience is sombre and often cathartic and some songs like the hurting "That kind of lonely" and "Not a bad man" about her fathers enlistment are almost too sad to endure.

"American Kid" is a deeply personal record and feels like a form of musical exorcism for Griffin. It represents a mature statement by a superb musician coming to terms with the big themes of life, its comings, it's everyday pleasures plus its painful departures. Throughout she proves she has one of the best and most emotive singing voices in modern music and now sits right bang smack on the top of the pinnacle of Americana music. Honestly this reviewer can't recommend "American Kid" highly enough.
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on May 8, 2013
I can't stop listening to this. I think it's her finest hour without a doubt and I disagree about Robert Plant getting in the way -I think his presence is a subtle one that adds to 3 beautiful songs but clearly this is Patty's album! I love every song and all but one were written by Patty herself making this a creative, artistic joy and success. Buy it!
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on May 8, 2013
It's all Patty! Sweet and beautiful. Kinda disagree with the review about the album being hum-ho. I loooove a good sad song and Patty can break your heart. I bawl every time I listen to Wild Old Dog. Awesome! If you're a Patty fan, I think you'll agree this one's a keeper.
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on May 9, 2013
I've been through the album a number of times now, as I am an avid fan of Patty Griffin. This album hooked me from the beginning and just keeps getting better as I hear it. Here, you can find the "stripped down" Patty Griffin without all the backup instruments. It's predominantly Patty, her guitar, some rhythm and some harmony. The harmony is provided by Robert Plant. I'm not convinced he's the best choice, and like another reviewer stated, I did find it distracting. At first, anyway. As I settled into the tempo of the songs, the combined efforts began to grow on me. I'd still love to hear Patty do these songs as a soloist but I no longer want to boot Robert Plant off the album. Overall, I find this album to be a great evolution in Patty's work. For those fans more familiar with recent albums "Downtown Church" and "A Thousand Kisses" the feel of this album will probably come as a shock. But if you're familiar with her earlier work "Living with Ghosts" or the (officially unreleased) "Silverbells" this album sounds like coming home again.

The album, in order:
The album starts out strong with "Go Wherever you Wanna Go" and "Don't Let me Die in Florida." Solid lyrics, emotional songs, strong beats. "Ohio" slows things way down but captures that beautiful pacing Patty does so well. "Wild Old Dog" speeds things back up again. Not a huge fan of this song; it feel abrupt after the pacing of "Ohio." But again, the lyrics are solid and the song tells a great story. "Mom and Dad's Waltz" feels a bit out of place in the order of the album but strikes me as a very personal statement and showcases the way Patty weaves in and around things in a song. "Faithful Son" is one of my favorites on this album. Again, a great story and an emotional song. The lyrics are a bit more repetitive but do lend a 'circle back to the beginning' kind of feel to the tale. "Highway Song" is an odd little piece, one I'll have to listen to more fully before I feel I've given it what it deserves. "That Kind of Lonely" strikes me as very inline with Patty's work, especially the emotion riddled songs of the album 'Impossible Dream.' "Irish Boy" and "Get Ready Marie" are, as another reviewer pointed out, from the drunk male point of view. They feel a little out of place, not due to the P.O.V. but because the pacing/tempo are more reminiscent of a bar shanty - not a vibe on the rest of the album. Patty has said that this album is about her father, so I suspect those songs have a personal significance to her. They are fun, and taken out of context of the album, are well preformed and entertaining. The album shifts back to it's emotional story telling with "Not a Bad Man and "Gonna Miss You When You're Gone." The first is a bit edgier, in its lyrics and beat. The second is slower while a bit more emotional.

I openly admit it: I'm a huge fan of this album. I've been a fan of Patty Griffin since she was an opening act touring "Living with Ghosts" in my town back in 1996. Of all her work, this album is rapidly rising to the top in my short list of favorites.
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on May 13, 2013
i have been waiting for patty to finally put out a whole album with original songs...and this was totally worth the wait...i was a little worried what with robert plant being her boyfriend and all, since i don't care for his voice...however, he is very subtle, and i surprisingly enjoy when he sings with her...outstanding lyrics, great chord progressions, love the instrumentation...i do miss tracy goudie who usually designs her albums, however, the design is pretty i said above, a much needed fresh breath of musical air...congrats patty!!!!
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on November 13, 2013
Do not hesitate to buy this instant classic from the great Patty Griffin. Strong, direct songwriting and performing throughout. She tackles themes of mortality, loss and loneliness head-on, but it never feels heavy-handed. Her voice has matured so well and the accompaniment throughout is first-rate. I think she just keeps getting better with age.
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on May 7, 2013
The correct file is now available for download.

Original Post:
See the MP3 tracks 7 & 8? They're both 4:22 in length. You can click "play" and hear that they are the same song. That is, Highway Song is missing. You can download all other tracks and wait until Amazon fixes Highway Song, or you might just consider downloading the song from somewhere else. It's up to you: I just think more people should know this, since Amazon's tech has yet to fix it. I'll try to keep my eyes out and delete this review (if that's even possible) once it's fixed.

Uhm, on another note, since I am commenting - the album is awesome, classic Patty. It hearkens back to Impossible Dream, which is her best album, in my opinion. The song Faithful Son is particularly good, as is Wild Old Dog. Yup.
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on June 9, 2013
Patty Griffin's voice has been absent for far too long, although her songs have continued to appear on other people's records. "Impossible Dream" is my favorite of her prior records, with "Living with Ghosts" coming in near it. Those were wilder records that were close to the pulsing spirit of pain, loss, and hope that everyone feels and only the truly gifted can express. What's more, Griffin's songs gave us the voice of the woman that was absent during all the bravura, all the boast.

"American Kid" has fewer attempts at fitting into a commercial mold than her prior work, and some of the songs here get near to the epiphanaic grace of her best work. "Don't Let Me Die in Florida" and "Ohio" and "That Kind of Lonely" are not jokes, not predictable. They offer the listener a framework and then deliver truth that cuts and cuts free. Whenever she makes another record, whether it's children's songs or Finnish dirges, I'll be buying it. Patty Griffin is a wonderful singer, but she's a better songwriter.
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on January 24, 2015
I don't know another artist I love as much as Patty Griffin, Eilen Jewel runs a close second for me but Patty's intensity, passion and raw emotion that comes out in her work is what sets her apart from others of same genre. I own every single album and have not been disappointed with any of them, how could I?! She's amazing simply put.
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on August 1, 2013
Bought the album today, and right from the very first song you can feel the honest, powerful emotions in every song. Listening to "Wild Old Dog" moved me to tears - this is an absolutely beautiful song in which she conjures up such perfectly haunting imagery that you can see yourself driving past this scene.

I first discovered Patty Griffin's music when I listened to "Children Running Through" several years ago, and I've been a fan ever since. I love that album so much that I was afraid that she would not be able to top that album. But listening to "American Kid" today, I've come to realize just how great a singer/songwriter Ms. Griffin is. I've always loved singer/songwriters who aren't afraid to bare their souls and emotions, and Patty Griffin is turning out to be one of the best.

"American Kid" is emotionally charged, powerful, and honest song-craft. The entire album is great, a masterpiece. I will enjoy listening to this album for years to come. Patty keeps getting better and better at her craft, and I hope she keeps producing great music for many years to come. Thank you, Patty!
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