There's contemporary scrapbooking - the kind with home parties, acid-free paper, clever scissors and entire stores devoted just to making perfect little paper homages to "a day at the beach" or "our summer vacation." And then there's old school scrapbooks, the kind your grandmother kept long before "scrapbooking" even became a verb. Black paper, silver photo corners, loosely organized yellowed newspaper clippings and perhaps a flattened old corsage or two - these scrapbooks were actually composed of scraps, leftovers and mementoes rather than expensive little decorations bought in a store.
It's this latter kind of scrapbook that A Kiss in Time embodies; this CD/DVD set is the Digital Age equivalent of souvenirs from Patty Griffin's recent 1,000 Kisses Tour. What's refreshing about this set is that it wasn't some project set up ahead of time by Griffin's label - in fact it was just luck that the last show of her tour ended up being at the Ryman Theater in Nashville. Her label and managers decided at the last minute to record the show for the archives, and it was especially fortuitous that Emmylou Harris and Buddy and Julie Miller just happened to come by to wish Griffin luck and join her on a few songs that night. As live concert recordings go, the CD is wonderful. It's really about the songs, and Griffin tells the back story only on a few of them, letting the compositions themselves settle on the audience like a flurry of delicate autumn leaves. It's good to hear some of her best songs from the last album - "Long Ride Home," "Rain" - lean and simple and not overly crowded by overproduction. There are also quite a few songs not on 1,000 Kisses, including "Goodbye," "Mary" and "Peter Pan" (all on previous albums), and one new song, "10 Million Miles."
As for the DVD, that was an entirely separate side project conceived by Griffin's friend, video director and conceptual artist Traci Goudie. It's for serious fans only, consisting of behind-the-scenes footage from the tour, plus two videos (one of which is animated and quite lovely). Be sure to check out Griffin recording "Faded Love" for an upcoming tribute album to Patsy Cline - it's really quite haunting.
Publication date: 11/06/03