Just how intimate can this sound? 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."

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