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Patty Griffin

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  • Patty Griffin

  • Patty Griffin


Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

All Music Guide:

The youngest of seven children, Patty Griffin grew up hearing her mother sing while doing housework and her grandmother's family sing on the front porch at night. In addition to listening intently to the Beatles, Griffin was fascinated by the music of Bruce Springsteen and Rickie Lee Jones. Although she acquired a $50 guitar and began writing songs at the age of 16, Griffin gave little thought to a career as a musician. After living in Florida for nearly two years, she moved to Boston and married, and while her husband encouraged her to perform, she spent most of her time waitressing. However, upon her divorce in 1992, Griffin found herself on her own and began to perform in Boston-area coffeehouses. She quickly attracted attention to her well-crafted songs and gutsy vocals.

After Griffin's over-produced demo tape reached the ears of a talent scout, she was encouraged to re-record it with just her guitar and voice. Within six months, the redone demo resulted in Griffin being offered a recording contract with A&M. The tape was later released as Griffin's debut, Living with Ghosts, and inspired comparisons with recordings by Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette. Griffin's second album, Flaming Red, was released in 1998. Both records showcased the poetic lyricism, bluesy alto vocals, and melodic guitar picking that defined her style and brought her admiration. Four years later, Griffin appeared with a modest acoustic effort entitled 1,000 Kisses. While touring in support of the album in 2002, Griffin documented behind-the-scenes footage for a future DVD collection. A Kiss in Time, which appeared in October 2003, included coverage of the tour, interviews, and two full-length videos. A separate disc capturing Griffin's live stint at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium accompanied the package.

Artists such as Lisa Germano, Emmylou Harris, and Buddy & Julie Miller joined Griffin for the recording of her fourth album, Impossible Dream, which appeared in April 2004. Almost three years later, Children Running Through was released. Griffin's sixth full-length outing, the gospel-infused Downtown Church, a collection of traditional and gospel materiel, was recorded in Nashville's Downtown Presbyterian Church, and arrived in January 2010. She wrote two selections for the album as well. That same year she appeared on Robert Plant's Band of Joy recording and tour. Griffin's next album of new original studio material, American Kid, appeared in early May of 2013; the album debuted at 36 on the Billboard Top 2000. That fall, her shelved 2000 album Silver Bell -- it got lost in record-label mergers of the time -- saw its long overdue release.


Patricia Jean "Patty" Griffin (born March 16, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. Known for her stripped-down songwriting style centered on the folk music genre, her songs have been covered by a host of musicians including Emmylou Harris, Ellis Paul, Rory Block, Dave Hause, and the Dixie Chicks.

In 2007, Griffin was the recipient of the Americana Music Association's "Artist of the Year" award and her album, Children Running Through, won for "Best Album".

In 2011, Griffin's album titled Downtown Church won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album.

^ Griffin, Patricia Fan website biography


Griffin is from Old Town, Maine, United States, next to the Penobscot Native American reservation. She is primarily a guitarist, pianist, and vocalist. The youngest child in her family with six older siblings, she bought a guitar for $50 at age 16. She sang and played, but had no inclination at the time to become a professional musician. After a short marriage, which ended in 1992, Griffin began playing in Boston coffee houses, and was scouted by A&M Records, who signed Griffin on the strength of her demo tape. When the finished studio recordings were submitted to A&M, the company execs thought it to be overproduced, so Nile Rodgers and A&M instead released a stripped-down reworking of her demo tape, as an album called Living with Ghosts.

Griffin's second album, 1998's Flaming Red was a departure from the acoustic sound of Living with Ghosts, with a mix of mellow songs along with other, very high tempo rock and roll songs. The title track, "Flaming Red" is an example of this, beginning with an even beat until it increases to a fevered pitch of emotion. "Tony" from this album is also featured on the charity benefit album Live in the X Lounge.

Her third record, Silver Bell, had a similar sound to its predecessor. It was released by A&M only 13 years after it was recorded (and well after it leaked into the public domain). A&M dropped Griffin's contract after Silver Bell was recorded, but she was picked up by Dave Matthews' ATO Records. Griffin re-recorded songs from that album for later releases such as "Making Pies", "Mother of God," "Standing," and "Top of the World" and others have been most famously covered by the Dixie Chicks. Copies of the unreleased Silver Bell were leaked and bootlegged, and can now be easily acquired via the "B&P" (Blanks and Postage) method on message boards. In August 2013, it was announced UM planned to release Silver Bell in October 2013 and producer Glyn Johns had mixed the album for the new release.

Four albums followed on ATO, including 2002's 1000 Kisses, A Kiss in Time (2003), Impossible Dream (2004), and Children Running Through (2007).

In 2004, Griffin toured with Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings as the Sweet Harmony Traveling Revue. On February 6, 2007, she released Children Running Through. The album debuted at #34 on the Billboard 200 with 27,000 copies sold. Of the album, Griffin told Gibson Lifestyle, "I just kind of felt like singing what I wanted to sing, and playing how I wanted to play. It's not all dark and tragic. It's a different way for me to look at things. Getting old—older, I should say, I'm not so serious all the time." It was also said that the album was inspired by her childhood days.

Griffin's songs have been recorded by artists such as Irish-born singer Maura O'Connell ("Long Ride Home"), Linda Ronstadt ("Falling Down"), the Dixie Chicks ("Truth No. 2," "Top of the World," "Let Him Fly"), Bette Midler, Melissa Ferrick and Missy Higgins ("Moses"), Beth Nielsen Chapman, Christine Collister, and Dixie Chicks ("Mary"), Mary Chapin Carpenter ("Dear Old Friend"), Jessica Simpson ("Let Him Fly"), Martina McBride ("Goodbye"), Emmylou Harris ("One Big Love", "Moon Song"), Bethany Joy Galeotti ("Blue Sky"), The Wreckers ("One More Girl"), Keri Noble ("When It Don't Come Easy"), Joan Osborne ("What You Are"), Solomon Burke ("Up to the Mountain"), and Miranda Lambert ("Getting Ready"). Kelly Clarkson performed "Up to the Mountain" with Jeff Beck on guitar, accompanied by some orchestration on the Idol Gives Back episode of American Idol, and the live recording was released as a single immediately afterwards, reaching #56 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its first week and giving Griffin her highest charting position as a songwriter. (The audience gave Clarkson a standing ovation following her performance.) Griffin's version of the song was featured on the fourth season, episode 11 of the popular ABC television show, Grey's Anatomy.

^ Harris, Craig (accessed March 17, 2008)Billboard com^ [1] Pattynet.net (Retrieved on 04-13-07)^ Votaw, Emily (July 31, 2013). "Patty Griffin's Lost 'Silver Bell' Album to Be Released in October". Billboard. Retrieved August 4, 2013. ^ Bernard Zuel Patty Griffin Gig ReFairfax Digital February 16, 2008^ Ellen Mallernee, Ellen Gibson Lifestyle article^ Cole, Katherine (February 20, 2007). "Childhood Reflections Inspire Patty Griffin on Latest CD". VOA News (Voice of America). Retrieved January 1, 2009. 

Instruments, effects, and sound[edit]

1965 Gibson J-50 Guitar1993 Gibson J-200 Junior Guitar^ Fretbase, Play Guitar Like Patty Griffin

Recent work[edit]

In September 2008, Griffin was featured on the album Simple Times by indie artist Joshua Radin, duetting on the song "You Got Growing Up to Do." In October 2008, she appeared in background vocals on Todd Snider's cover of John Fogerty's "Fortunate Son" for Snider's Peace Queer album. In February 2009, Griffin was featured on the album Feel That Fire by Dierks Bentley, duetting on the song "Beautiful World".

In 2009, Griffin, along with Mavis Staples and The Tri-City Singers released a version of the song "Waiting for My Child to Come Home" on the compilation album Oh Happy Day: An All-Star Music Celebration.

The collaboration with Staples led EMI's Peter York to suggest Griffin make an album of gospel songs. Griffin agreed on the condition that friend and bandmate Buddy Miller produced the record. Griffin's sixth studio album, Downtown Church, was recorded at the Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville and was released on January 26, 2010. The album features long-time friends Buddy and Julie Miller, as well as Shawn Colvin and Emmylou Harris. It features songs by Hank Williams, Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, and "All Creatures of Our God and King," a song accredited to St. Francis of Assisi.

In July 2010, Robert Plant toured the United States with Band of Joy (reprising the name of his band in the 1960s). Patty Griffin toured with them as a backing vocalist to Plant, along with singer-guitarist Buddy Miller, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Darrell Scott, bassist-vocalist Byron House, and drummer-percussionist-vocalist Marco Giovino. She is also featured on Plant's solo album, Band of Joy, which was released in September 2010 by Rounder Records.

Griffin has recently parted with Plant after a long relationship; they lived together and divided their time between Austin, Texas and England.

^ "Jon Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah go gospel for "Day"". Reuters. March 27, 2009. ^ "Downtown Church Press Release". Big Hassle. December 7, 2009. ^ "Patty Griffin – Downtown Church". Amazon. December 7, 2009. ^ "Patty's Next Album: Downtown Church". Patty Central. December 7, 2009. ^ Kreps, Daniel (March 26, 2010). "Robert Plant's New Band of Joy Plot Album, Summer Tour". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 10, 2010. ^ [1]

Film, television, and theater[edit]

In 1997, Griffin's song titled "Not Alone" from her first album, Living with Ghosts, was featured in the final scene and ending credits for the 1997 film, Niagara, Niagara, appeared on the 2009 soundtrack release for the television series, Without a Trace, and was sung at the end of NCIS, Season 10, episode 12, which aired on 01/15/13. "Not Alone" was also played at the end of Crossing Jordan, Season 1, Episode 6, entitled "Believers" (29 Oct. 2001). In 1997 her song titled "One Big Love" from the album "Flaming Red" was featured in the final scenes and credits of the film "Digging to China".

Griffin has appeared in several movies including Cremaster 2 and Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown, whose soundtrack included her song "Long Ride Home" and a cover of "Moon River" by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini.

In 2007, the Atlantic Theater Company produced 10 Million Miles, an Off Broadway musical, directed by Michael Mayer, with Griffin's music as the soundtrack.

Griffin's first DVD, Patty Griffin: Live From the Artists Den, was filmed on February 6, 2007 at the Angel Orensanz Foundation For the Arts on New York's Lower East Side and released later that year. Selections from the DVD were featured on the program Live from the Artists Den on Ovation TV, beginning January 24, 2008.

In 2007, Griffin was singled out by the Americana Music Association and awarded their top honor, Artist of the Year; her album Children Running Through also received an honor from the Association. She performed "Trapeze" with Emmylou Harris harmonizing.

On June 13, 2008 Griffin performed an acoustic-in-the-round set in Nashville, Tennessee with Kris Kristofferson and Randy Owen (Alabama), for a special taping of a PBS songwriters series aired in December 2008. Each performer played five songs. In Griffin's case, it featured "Making Pies," "No Bad News," "Up to the Mountain," and "Mary."

In 2009, Griffin's song "Mary" was featured on Sons of Anarchy, season 2 episode 10.

In May 2013, Griffin's song "Heavenly Day" was featured prominently in a commercial for Chevy's new Volt line of automobile, entitled 'Volt: Silent Statement.'

In May 2015, the song "Go Wherever You Wanna Go" was featured in episode 22 of Supernatural, during the 10th season.

^ Shelburne, Craig (accessed March 14, 2008) CMT: Patty Griffin Wins Americanas Highest Honor
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Tour Dates All Dates Dates In My Area

Date Venue Location Tickets
07.08.15 Kresge Auditorium Interlochen, MI US
07.09.15 Frederik Meijer Gardens Grand Rapids, MI US
07.12.15 Weesner Family Amphitheater Apple Valley, MN US
07.14.15 Chautauqua Auditorium Boulder, CO US
07.16.15 Arvada Center Arvada, CO US
07.19.15 Red Butte Garden Salt Lake City, UT US
07.21.15 Humphreys Concerts by the Bay San Diego, CA US
07.23.15 Montalvo Saratoga, CA US
07.25.15 Oregon Zoo Portland, OR US
03.01.16 Music Center at Strathmore North Bethesda, MD US

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