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, 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.
Grammy Win: 'Downtown Church'
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.
Tribute to Father
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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