The title of veteran singer/songwriter's new album, "Reprieve," is both apt and ironic. The 35-year-old was forced off the road last year while recovering from extreme tendonitis in her wrists and han

The title of veteran singer/songwriter's new album, "Reprieve," is both apt and ironic. The 35-year-old was forced off the road last year while recovering from extreme tendonitis in her wrists and hands. But, just as she has throughout her career, she remains restless as a political activist and musician.

To be released this week on DiFranco's own Righteous Babe label, "Reprieve" is a "hard look at patriarchy," according to the artist. "It is kind of weird, in this day and age, to be talking about that particular subject. You'd think instead it'd be about the war or the government infrastructure or the kind of greed from that government that we're subject to," DiFranco says. "But I sort of see all these things stemming from this one thing. I think that patriarchy is the root of imbalance, the disease from which all these symptoms manifest."

DiFranco is backed on the album by tourmate Todd Sickafoose, who fills in on upright bass, organ and keyboards on a few songs. DiFranco also credits "Saint Claude," the avenue that runs beside her part-time studio in New Orleans, for ambient sounds of traffic, birds, thunder and frogs.

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