Whitney Pastorek
December 03, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

You don’t like the sound of the truth coming from my mouth,” Patty Griffin sings on her lost third album, Silver Bell. Sound familiar? That’s because the Dixie Chicks released her complex and joyous love song ”Truth No. 2” in 2002 — but Griffin probably never will. Also lost: the trance-infused folk of ”Little God,” the soul of ”Driving,” and most of the other lyrically deft tracks on Silver Bell, a victim of A&M’s 1998 collapse into Interscope, which dropped Griffin from the label . . . but kept the album. They’ve allowed her to rerecord a few of the songs for albums like 2004’s elegant Impossible Dream (Griffin calls getting permission to use her own work ”the strangest thing in the world to me”), but she’s doubtful Bell will ever be unshelved in full. ”I’m a believer in fate. In a way I’m relieved it didn’t come out,” sighs the songwriter, now content at Dave Matthews’ ATO Records. ”I needed to get out of there.”

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