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Sid Griffin: The Trick Is To Breathe

Ex-Long Ryder goes solo in Nashville.

Griffin’s days in 80s California’s Paisley Underground scene with the Long Ryders, mixing punk and Gram Parsons with fellow Americana pioneers The Dream Syndicate, are long gone.

The now UK-based Coal Porters leader and music journalist hasn’t made a solo record for a decade either, an omission he happily corrects on this new, swiftly recorded Nashville excursion. It’s an elegant album, decorous mandolin and fiddle suiting Griffin’s lean story-songs and emotional vignettes.

Elvis Presley Calls His Mother After The Ed Sullivan Show is the best of the former, catching the Memphis Flash in his fame’s white heat. That’s as revved up as Griffin gets, some speeding bluegrass aside – even Punk Rock Club is spoken-word poetry. Literate elegies for old friends, old loves and victims of war are much more his style now. We’ve Run Out Of Road sums up this rear-view mirror perspective, describing burnt-out relationships and, maybe, America itself./o:p