That's the question Patty Griffin set forth to answer when recording her seventh solo album, "American Kid," out May 7 on New West Records.
The cult singer/songwriter already connects with a legion of fans through songs detailing all manner of heartbreak and joy.
But for her first album of new solo material since 2007's "Children Running Through It" (2010's Grammy Award-winning "Downtown Church" was a live recording), she says, "I wanted it to sound like I was in the room with you." To that end, she and producer Craig Ross hired her stage sound engineer Roy Taylor to rig up "a bunch of old microphones to get that local sound," while hunkered down at the "funky, lived-in" Zebra Ranch Studio located an hour outside of Memphis, owned by Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi All-Stars (both of whom play on the record).
"Studios are designed to pull out all of that beautiful ambience you get from singing in a room, and then the engineer puts it back in digitally or through whatever machinery you've got," says Griffin, speaking from her home in Austin.
“But the only important thing is, can you contemporise your gift?
Swift's second album, Fearless, was released in 2008.
Buoyed by the pop crossover success of the singles "Love Story" and "You Belong with Me", Fearless became the best-selling album of 2009 in the United States.
“Even people who know who I am think I’m dead.” Plant doesn’t even look that different from the glory days of Led Zeppelin.
The ringlets cascading around his weathered face are tinged with grey, and a cavalier goatee beard sprouts from his chin, but his whole bearing retains something proud and fearless.