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Robert Plant's folk favourite tours the UK
After touring with Robert Plant in Band of Joy American folk singer Patty Griffin is returning to solo status for a visit to the UK. The 49-year-old from Maine will promote her new album, American Kid, released on May 13, with a tour that includes a show at Birmingham Glee Club on July 24.
American Kid's first single, Ohio, features Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant on harmonies. He also sings on Faithful Son and Highway Song.
Much of the record, her seventh solo album, was inspired by the life of Patty's father who died in 2011. Album opener, Go Wherever You Want To Go, was written, says Patty, "as I was getting ready to lose him, so it was really to honour him.'' She continues: ''Then a whole other story opened up - my father's story started telling me a bigger story."
Her dad led an eventful life. He was a high school science teacher who fought in World War II, lost his father young and his mother almost immediately after he returned from the war. He lived for a time in a Trappist monastery, but ended up raising seven children.
Patty's song Irish Boy was written about her dad in his glory, a soldier just returned home to everything and everyone he loves. Other album highlights include a cover of Lefty Frizzell's Mom and Dad's Waltz and the touching finale Gonna Miss You When You're Gone.
As a member of Band of Joy Patty melded British and American folk, rock and spiritual music but on her solo record she concentrates on more rootsy Americana.
"It was recorded in Memphis," Patty says, adding with a quick laugh, "Part of the reason was the chance to get away from what I'd been doing."
The key to that was working with North Mississippi Allstars guitarist Luther Dickinson and drummer Cody Dickinson. The Dickinsons had played acoustic sets opening for Band of Joy and Luther gave Patty lessons on mandolin.
"With the Dickinsons, you're constantly seeing people who work to get away from what they're used to," she smiles.
Patty's American Kid UK tour begins at The Sage, Gateshead, on July 19 and continues at Manchester's Royal Northern College of Music (20), Perth Theatre (21), Milton Keynes The Stables (23), Birmingham Glee Club (24), London Union Chapel (25) and Cambridge Folk Festival (26).