At 42 years old, Patty Griffin believes it's time she start "rockin' more." On Feb. 6, the singer/songwriter will release her latest album, "Children Running Through," via ATO. The diverse set touches

At 42 years old, Patty Griffin believes it's time she start "rockin' more."

On Feb. 6, the singer/songwriter will release her latest album, "Children Running Through," via ATO. The diverse set touches on a myriad of genres, including rock, country, soul, folk and gospel, with all the tracks produced by Griffin and Mike McCarthy (Spoon).

"I gave the [record] to a friend, who came back and was like, 'You're really rocking now,'" Griffin tells Billboard.com. "I guess I hadn't really thought of it that way."

She says she began writing the record shortly after finishing work on her last set, 2004's "Impossible Dream." She brought to the studio a direct agenda.

"I really wanted to concentrate on my singing this time around," Griffin says. "I wanted to quit over-thinking the lyrics, with less work on trying to come up with something clever. That's part of the theme of it. It's occurred to me I need to laugh at myself more, and that I don't need to be some sad folk singer all the time. I don't want to be the queen of pain."

Griffin, who also handles guitar duties on the album, is joined by a full band, including guitarist Doug Lancio, keyboardist Ian McLagan (formerly of the Faces) and a 9-person string section arranged by John Mark Painter. Country veteran Emmylou Harris contributes harmonies to "Trapeze."

Fans who purchased Solomon Burke's most recent effort, "Nashville" (Shout! Factory), would have gotten a preview of Griffin's latest writing. Griffin contributed her new album's "Up to the Mountain" to the Burke release after being approached by country singer Buddy Miller.

"Buddy called me up from his studio, asking if I had anything that might fit in this country record Solomon was doing," Griffin says. "I was so excited. I gave them that song, hoping they'd take it. They took to it right away."

Griffin is currently planning a full tour. In the meantime, she's helping to develop an off-Broadway musical, "Ten Million Miles," based on her songs, due in March. The plot revolves around "two kids that want to escape their town in Florida to head up to Massachusetts."

"I don't know exactly which songs will be on there," says Griffin. "All I know is that I still owe them one more track."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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