Patty Griffin's Lost Album Silver Bell

Back in 2000, Patty Griffin made one of the greatest albums that was never heard... until now. On October 8, 2013, Patty Griffin's Silver Bell was officially released by A&M. Cindy Howes recently got a chance to talk to Silver Bell's percussionist, Billy Beard about his experience recording the album, aftermath and his feelings on the now released version of Silver Bell.

Silver Bell was meant to be Patty Griffin’s third album, not the 8th as it ended up being. The band was put together just months after Patty’s second album, Flaming Red. “We toured well over a year behind [Flaming Red], and then all went into King’s Way in New Orleans to make Silver Bell. We were there for almost 3 months. The band was firing on all cylinders and we had free reign to do what we wanted to do and we finished that record. We thought that record would come out and we would be together for quite a while, and it was pretty devastating what happened next.”

The album wasn’t released. A merger at A&M and Interscope during recording resulted in an unfortunate and unexpected out lash against Patty. “At the head of that was Jimmy Iovine. That all happened as we were recording, so when we turned the record in, Jimmy basically said he’d never been a fan of hers, didn’t like anything she’d ever done, and he wasn’t going to put this record out.” The band was devastated, and didn’t know for months what the fate of the album would be. Eventually, Patty moved to ATO Records, the label founded by Dave Matthews.

Two bootleg versions of Silver Bell surfaced after Silver Bell wasn’t released. One was a rough mix from early in the process, and the other was a mix closer to the final version that Billy Beard didn’t care for. The mix on the album released this year was done by Glyn Johns, as encouraged by Robert Plant, and Beard thinks this version is much better.

Silver Bell is out now (finally!) on A&M Records.