Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Waxed - Record Review from Issue #16 July-Aug 1998

Patty Griffin

Flaming Red (A&M)

On her first album, 1996′s Living With Ghosts, singer-songwriter Patty Griffin trod the trad-folk route, stripping her songs to the bone with only voice and acoustic guitar. It proved as satisfying a strategy as it was gutsy, setting in bold relief Griffin’s intimate vignettes of love and loss, and, more importantly, her striking vocals — a natural blend of down-home colloquialism (think Bonnie Raitt) and uptown insouciance (Rickie Lee Jones).

On Flaming Red, Griffin revises her modus operandi, and it’s apparent from the opening seconds of the title track. In fact, “Flaming Red” is a rockabilly rave-up so removed from the easygoing immediacy of Living With Ghosts that it’s impossible to read it as anything other than a radical statement of newfound purpose.

Trouble is, Griffin doesn’t have the nerve to go whole-hog into cowpunk abandon; “Flaming Red” is a two-minute anomaly. What’s worse, she’s not really sure where she wants to go. “Goodbye” is a leisurely stroll down a country road; “Christina” is a soft-rock valentine; “Wiggley Fingers” is an acid-funk cybergroove; “Go Now” is a loungey torch song; “Peter Pan” is an impressionistic piano daydream. “Tony”, the album’s biggest clunker, sets Griffin’s uncharacteristically mawkish lyrics (a sad song about a fat boy) against low-key verses and guitar-onslaught choruses. Producer Jay Joyce doesn’t help matters, offering neither focus nor feeling, only high-tech drum loops and bombastic burnish. It’s all very faddish, and all very phony.

A couple years ago, Griffin showed more promise than most of her up-and-coming singer-songwriter counterparts. Only her next album will tell if Flaming Red was an out-and-out breach of that promise, or just a muddle-headed expression of it.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Discuss

Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #16 July-Aug 1998

Cover of Issue #16 July-Aug 1998

Sorry, this issue is SOLD OUT

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »


From the Blogs

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!


Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter