Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Patty Griffin

This has nothing to do with the usual topics of this blog, but I've just watched Patty Griffin's new concert dvd along with a Sopranos episode with a bit of Springsteen's Glory Days attitude (and according to the credits, Southside Johnny as himself though I didn't spot him) and I'm thinking a bit of my old days as well.

For those who've never heard of Patty, she's a songwriter covered by a lot of famous singers and increasingly well known for her own releases as well. Earlier this month she won the Americana Music Association's awards for Artist of the Year and Album of the Year.

I knew Patty in the early 90s when she was working at a pizza restaurant and playing as opening act in a tiny club
in Harvard Square. OK, I'm exaggerating the "knew" part; more accurately, I was telling everyone who'd listen that she was going to be a big star, and I might have looked familiar to her in a crowd.

I'd see her walking around the Square and, in what I now think of as a 'what if' moment, once we met as each was walking alone
in opposite directions around Jamaica Pond. She looked sad, as she's said she often was in those days, and our eyes met but we didn't speak. I told myself on the next loop around I'd tell her how much I enjoyed her music and see if she wanted company, but she didn't make that next loop.

Then she disappeared for a few years, moving back to Maine if I remember right, and I wondered what was wrong and why she wasn't a star yet. Finally in 1996 came her first major release and I went to a signing she did at a store in Boston. I brought with me a six song tape she'd released five years earlier and she signed it, "Can't believe you have this!"

Fast forward and she's the star I said she'd be. It was an easy prediction. She has a powerful voice which resonates inside people causing chills and hair-raising whether she's shouting or whispering the words to her mostly sad sounding songs. But hey, if you need cheering up there's the love song
(Heavenly Day) to her dog.

So, the point. Go buy some Patty Griffin music. For memories, I still prefer her old stuff with just her voice and guitar as on that old tape and her first CD Living with Ghosts, but if you prefer a band and more production try this year's award winning Children Running Through, and then you can work on getting the four in between.

We now return you to the ongoing collapse of industrial civilization...


Lisa J. said...

I always think I'm so "worldly" when it comes to music just because i'm a musician only to discover that there are so many artists out there that I don't even know about!! Thanks for pointing her out to me. I'll definitely be checking her out.

greentangle said...

A big chunk of my CD collection is from singers most people have never heard of. Hope you enjoy Patty; along with all the usual places to sample, if you Google her a couple NPR interview/minisets will come up.

Stephanie said...

Ooh...I love her. The only album I have, though, is impossible dream. Most of my favorite albums and artists are out-of-the-mainstream, relatively unknown folkies too.