Patty Griffin's Living with Ghosts was an impressive debut, but its spare acoustic arrangements occasionally made it sound more like a sketchbook than a completed album. Shortly after its release, her label commissioned a new version of "Let Him Fly," which matched her vocals to a full live band. Satisfied with the results, Griffin decided to flesh out the instrumentation on her second album Flaming Red and the results are revelatory. Griffin didn't stick with traditional rock arrangments -- she also recorded country-rock, folk, catchy pop and even trip-hop songs, as well. Instead of camouflaging her songwriting, it actually reveals the richness of her music and lyrics. Her sonic revision may be more accessible, but it's no compromise -- Flaming Red is evidence that Griffin is one the more talented and ambitious singer/songwriters to emerge in the late '90s.
Flaming Red Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine