If voices had colours, Patty Griffin’s would be blue. In her own words, “I’m not sure why I’m so good at sad; it’s what’s I’m drawn to and what I do best.” A shy little girl, the youngest of seven siblings in a big Irish/French Canadian family growing up in small-town Maine, Griffin’s home was always filled with music. When she grew up, in spite of her shyness—or maybe because of it—she picked up a guitar and started writing poetry and started singing in Boston coffee houses in the 1990s.
Since those coffeehouse days, Griffin has released 10 recordings that range all over the map; she made a Grammy-winning gospel album Downtown Church; joined Robert Plant’s Band of Joy, melding British and American folk, rock and spiritual music, and featured on fellow festival artist Amos Lee’s most recent album. Her own latest, American Kid, was written to honour her dad, and marks a sweet and solid return to her musical home base—the powerful, the personal and the unpredictable.