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Patty Griffin (Born 16 March 1964) is a singer-songwriter from Old Town, Maine, US that is known for her stripped down presentations of folk and Americana music. She has received many awards for her music and her songs have been covered by multiple artists.
Patty Griffin grew up as the youngest child with six older siblings. When she turned 16 she bought her first guitar with the intentions to pursue music as a hobby rather than a profession. After her first marriage ended in 1992 she began performing at local coffee houses in Boston and quickly caught the attention of A&M Records, who later signed her to the label.
By 1996 Griffin released her debut album through A&M called “Living with Ghosts”. The album has been one of Griffin’s most successful releases with her selling over 222,000 copies in the US. The album featured the raw approach of Griffin performing only with her voice and acoustic guitar. She avoided the commercial approach of recording with a backing band and opted to produce an album that could be taken as more sincere and direct. The music on the album is very minimalistic and has strong emotional undertones. The album featured the songs “Moses” and “Let Him Fly”.
In 1998 Griffin released her second album “Flaming Red”, which conveyed her switching directions from a minimalistic acoustic guitar approach to a more elaborate approach with a wider range of instrumentation. “Flaming Red” covered genres ranging from folk to rock to country to pop to trip-hop. The album reached the No. 12 spot on the Top Heatseekers chart and was considered more accessible than her debut album.
After “Flaming Red” Griffin was dropped from A&M records and was picked up by Dave Matthews Band’s label ATO Records. Griffin released her third album “1000 Kisses” in 2002, which peaked at No. 101 on the Billboard 200 chart and No. 1 on the Heatseekers chart. Although the album was recorded with a band, the album mostly contained acoustic instrumentation and conveyed an intimate sound. The album contained several popular original songs as well as a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Stolen Car”.
Griffin continued to release albums through ATO Records. In 2003 she released “A Kiss in Time”, which was recorded at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2004 she released “Impossible Dream”, which contained the popular song “Top of the World”, which was made famous when the Dixie Chicks covered the song. In 2007 she released “Children Running Through”, which included a collaboration with Emmylou Harris on the song “Trapeze”. The album received critical praise and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album. Griffin released the album “Downtown Church” in 2010, which won a Dove Award for Inspirational Album of the Year. In 2013 Griffin released “American Kid”, which was released to critical acclaim and included a songwriting duet with Robert Plant on the song “Highway Song”.
Griffin is also respected by her fellow musicians and has had the opportunity to tour with the likes of Buddy Miller, Gillian Welch, Robert Plant, and David Rawlings. Her music has also been covered by many artists such as Lind Ronstadt, Bette Midler, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Miranda Lambert.