"We're not legally married, no," she says, putting rumors to rest.However, their romantic and professional partnership means she spends more time in the United Kingdom when they're not hunkered down in Austin, leading to the decision to release "American Kid" overseas, which hasn't been the case for several of her prior records.
When I ask what he wants to achieve, he says: “I’m just having a laugh kicking ass.” He spent time in Nashville on country adventures, recording 2007’s Raising Sand with Alison Krauss and forming a new version of his Sixties collective Band Of Joy with guitarist Buddy Miller and singer Patty Griffin, with whom he is romantically involved.
But he sounds happy to be back on the road with an eclectic line-up of mainly British musicians.
"But I wanted it to be a little rough around the edges.
I didn't want it to be slicked up; I didn't want the life all drained out of it." With its hypnotic rhythms and varied textures, first single "Ohio," inspired by the Toni Morrison book "Beloved," was a natural pick to set up the album.
"It occurred to me that there's another way to look at this besides my own grief, which is: They're OK.
Patty Griffin is currently married to Robert Plant.But for her first album of new solo material since 2007's "Children Running Through It" (2010's Grammy Award-winning "Downtown Church" was a live recording), she says, "I wanted it to sound like I was in the room with you." To that end, she and producer Craig Ross hired her stage sound engineer Roy Taylor to rig up "a bunch of old microphones to get that local sound," while hunkered down at the "funky, lived-in" Zebra Ranch Studio located an hour outside of Memphis, owned by Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi All-Stars (both of whom play on the record)."Studios are designed to pull out all of that beautiful ambience you get from singing in a room, and then the engineer puts it back in digitally or through whatever machinery you've got," says Griffin, speaking from her home in Austin.A LOSS INSPIRES "American Kid" proves to be Griffin's most soulful and pensive album yet, owing to the life circumstances that inform it."My dad was getting ready to pass away and I was just kind of writing for myself; he was a big influence for a lot of the record," Griffin recalls of her father, a World War II vet and high school teacher who died in 2009. But it was good to have that outlet, to be able to write songs about it." Meditative, but not somber, the album kicks off with "Go Wherever You Wanna Go," in which Griffin imagines a carefree afterworld. He grumbles, with much humour, about having “an IT nightmare” because his laptop has crashed with files of his band jamming that he intended to use to write new songs.