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Patty Griffin is a Grammy Award-winning folk/country artist known for the albums Downtown Church and American Kid as well as songs like "Long Ride Home."
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Born on March 16, 1964, in Old Town, Maine, Patty Griffin forged a career in music as a singer/songwriter/guitarist, releasing her debut album, Living With Ghosts, in 1996. Several more esteemed albums followed, including 1000 Kisses and Downtown Church, which won a Grammy Award. Griffin has performed with Emmylou Harris and Robert Plant, and released the album American Kid in 2013,
"I grew up listening to AM radio in the '70s and hearing all of that great soul and rhythm and blues music, which definitely influenced the way I sing. But singing gospel has made me a much more humble person. There are so many people who were geniuses, who only a few people knew about when they were alive."
"I think that this country has really allowed us to stay innocent and naive, in not always good ways. We need to be really clear about our history and what everybody here has been through. It's not all apple pie; that's the tiniest portion of the story."
"More and more in my older years, I see that although lyrics are important, as far as a songwriter's job goes, they should carry a melody. The ideal is to carry a voice and to carry emotion, and I'm more and more entrenched in that after the gospel record."
"It's lonely on the highway, sometimes a heart can turn to dust."
"In my life, it goes like this: The Beatles, Aretha Franklin and the Staple Singers."
"When you're little, everyone smiles at you because you're cute, so you think the world's great. Everything's so vivid. You're not clouded out by anxiety and you don't miss things.You see the sun, and you see your mom's lipstick and how beautiful she is."
dedicated to her father.
Patricia Jean Griffin was born on March 16, 1964, in Old Town, Maine, the youngest of seven children. She discovered her passion for singing at the age of 12, partially influenced by her mother's own singing and the sounds of the Beatles, Aretha Franklin and the Staple Singers. She started crafting songs with a guitar as a teen and eventually relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, where she worked as a waitress while married.
Griffin divorced in the early '90s and opted to pursue a music career, performing at coffeehouses and creating a demo of work. A stripped-down version was released under A&M records as Griffin's distinctive 1996 debut, Living With Ghosts. Her next full-length recording, Flaming Red, was released two years later, offering a more raucous and sonically diverse sound than its predecessor.
With label mergers leaving one of Griffin's albums unreleased, she came back in 2002 with 1000 Kisses, a Grammy Award-nominated album with gems like "Long Ride Home," chronicling a mourner's reflections, and the Spanish-language "Mil Besos." The live recording A Kiss in Time followed the next year. Griffin became known for her emotionally charged voice and a writing style that showcased vivid storytelling.
Griffin went on to release the albums Impossible Dream (2004) and Children Running Through (2007), with the latter receiving a best album recognition from the Americana Music Association. Griffith then created an album of gospel covers with a bit of original material, recording songs in a Presbyterian church in Nashville, Tennessee. The acclaimed effort, Downtown Church (2010), won a Grammy for best traditional gospel album.
Griffin has performed with the likes of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin and Dar Williams, among others, and her songs have been hailed and covered by a variety of country and pop artists. She was a featured performer on Robert Plant's 2010 album, Band of Joy, also going on tour. Around this same time, Griffin and Plant became romantically involved.
In 2013, Griffin released her seventh studio album, American Kid, dedicated to the memory of her father, Lawrence Joseph Griffin, who had immigrated to the United States from Ireland, served in World War II, lived at a monastery and worked as a high school teacher to support his family. One track from the album, "Go Wherever You Wanna Go," takes on a freeing philosophy to the passing of a loved one. The project's lead single, "Ohio," features Plant on harmony and touches on the Underground Railroad; Griffin was inspired to write the song after reading Toni Morrison's novel Beloved.
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