Downtown Church, Patty Griffin's seventh album, is the equivalent of a slow walk into a field of wildflowers - a journey in which you look up at a bluebird sky and take a deep breath with your eyes closed. It sounds like the soundtrack to a spiritual awakening, which makes sense, given that it's a gospel album.
What makes Downtown Church even more relevant - and, frankly, more touching - is that Griffin says she's working through complicated feelings about religion and her own sense of faith. Downtown Church is her way of exploring those feelings. For the rest of us, the music is just plain good. And, for some of us, it's a feel-good re-introduction to ideas and feelings that might be uncomfortably familiar.