Griffin performing at Sound Stage in Central Park on September 17, 2008
|Birth name||Patricia Jean Griffin|
|Born||March 16, 1964|
|Origin||Old Town, Maine, US|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano|
New West Records
|Associated acts||Dixie Chicks
Sweet Harmony Traveling Revue
Band of Joy
Patty Griffin (born Patricia Jean Griffin on March 16, 1964) is an American Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and musician. Known for her stripped-down songwriting style centered around the folk music genre, her songs have been covered by a host of musicians including Emmylou Harris, Ellis Paul, Rory Block, and the Dixie Chicks.
Patty 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, and 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; After submitting the finished studio recordings 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, though it was also unreleased by A&M. A&M dropped Griffin's contract after Silver Bell, 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 UMe planned to release Silver Bell in October 2013 and producer Glyn Johns had mixed the album for the new release.
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 (MLK Song)"), and Miranda Lambert ("Getting Ready"). Kelly Clarkson performed "Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)" 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.
Instruments, effects, and sound
- 1965 Gibson J-50 Guitar
- 1993 Gibson J-200 Junior Guitar
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 very first 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.
Film, television, and theater
In 1997, Griffin's song entitled "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.
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.
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."
|Title||Details||Peak chart positions|
|Living with Ghosts||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|Children Running Through||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|A Kiss in Time||
|Patty Griffin: Live From the Artist's Den||
- Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music (1998) – "Cain" (recorded live during the 1997 tour)
- Live at the World Café: Vol. 15 - Handcrafted (2002, World Café) – "Rain"
- 107.1 KGSR Radio Austin – Broadcasts Vol.10 (2002) – "Rain"
- Elizabethtown Soundtrack (2005, RCA Records) – "Long Ride Home", "Moon River"
- Oh Happy Day (2009, EMI Gospel/Vector Recordings) – "Waiting For My Child To Come Home" (with Mavis Staples and The Tri-City Singers)
- Live at the World Cafe: Vol. 5 (1997, World Cafe Records) – "Every Little Bit"
- Live at the World Cafe: Vol. 16 – Sweet Sixteen (World Cafe Records) – "Makin' Pies"
|2009||"Seeing Stars"||Jack Ingram||54||Big Dreams & High Hopes|
|1996||"Every Little Bit"|
|1998||"One Big Love"|
|2004||"Love Throw a Line"|
|2009||"Beautiful World" (with Dierks Bentley)|
- Griffin, Patricia Fan website biography
- Harris, Craig (accessed 17 March 2008)Billboard com
-  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 (20 February 2007). "Childhood Reflections Inspire Patty Griffin on Latest CD". VOA News (Voice of America). Retrieved 1 January 2009.
- Fretbase, Play Guitar Like Patty Griffin
- "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 (26 March 2010). "Robert Plant’s New Band of Joy Plot Album, Summer Tour". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
-  Billboard.com (Retrieved on 06-09-13)
- Shelburne, Craig (accessed 14 March 2008) CMT: Patty Griffin Wins Americanas Highest Honor
- "Patty Griffin Album & Song Chart History – Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
- "Patty Griffin Album & Song Chart History – Christian Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
- "Patty Griffin Album & Song Chart History – Folk Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
- "Patty Griffin Album & Song Chart History – Independent Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
- "Patty Griffin Album & Song Chart History – Rock Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
- "Patty Griffin Album & Song Chart History – Tastemaker Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
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