Americana songwriting legend proves resilient on self-titled 10th album

For Patty Griffin's 10th album, the legendary songwriter kept things simple. She teamed up with longtime producer Craig Ross and recorded the tracks mostly at her home in Austin, Texas. While friends contributed to the record, including Robert Plant (who sings on two songs), the arrangements are spare, with Griffin and her guitar at the forefront. Fittingly, it's a self-titled record.

It's also Griffin's first album since battling and defeating breast cancer, and while she has always written in such a way that listeners can imprint their own experiences onto the songs, it's hard not to think about Griffin's specific resilience on “River”: “Takes an army just to bend her/Be careful where you stand her/You can't hold her back for long/The river is just too strong/She's a river.”

Elsewhere, on “Coins,” Griffin recalls her early waitressing days — particularly one man she hoped to never see again who was “young and hungry for power.” Before the final chorus, with just a few masterfully written lines, Griffin chillingly tethers the incident to present day realities: “Now history is on your side/Who am I to deny it?/A fiefdom for your fragile pride/And who would dare defy it?” (Don't miss it)