It’s strange when you’ve spent nearly a decade listening to an artist and never seen them in concert. Your set wish list is extensive which in turn creates high hopes but when you have the affecting song catalogue that Patty Griffin has amassed, you can be assured that no matter the set audience members are going to leave with a twinkle of wonder in their eyes. . . that yes they just bore witness to a miracle.
Patty, who? If you’re not familiar with her name, you’re sure to be familiar with some of her songs. Some of country music’s biggest names (Dixie Chicks, Miranda Lambert and Martina McBride) have covered her songs- not to mention the one and only Bette Midler.
Griffin stepped on stage Monday evening at The Melting Point in Athens, Ga. to deafening applause, causing her to remark that she “felt like a Beatle.” For those who have been moved by a Patty Griffin song, if not rock she is definitely folk royalty.
Opening up with “If I Had My Way” from her last studio album Downtown Church, Griffin had the crowd hooked before her fingers even committed to strumming the first chord. After a track from 1000 Kisses, another Church track and “Stay on the Ride” from her highest charting album to date Children Running Through, Griffin performed the first of two new tracks from her forthcoming record American Kid.
“It’s coming,” she told the crowd. “I don’t want to say when but sometime next year.”
If the first track was any indication, it’s worth the wait. “Faithless” continued the tradition of Griffin musings on religion which were the forefront of Downtown Church, but in more of the vain of “Moses”, the opening track of her debut album Living with Ghosts, than the almost gospel Downtown. Either way, American Kid is sure to continue the reverence fans have for Griffin’s words.
Then the story telling began. Griffin began sharing inspiration for tracks including “Get Ready Marie” a humorous song she was inspired to write after seeing a wedding photograph of her grandparents. “Back then you waited until you were married to have sex,” Griffin laughed. ”The look on [my grandfather’s] face says it all.”
Also gGriffin shared stories about her father. Describing him as “over-educated thanks to the GI Bill,” “Railroad Wings” was written about the train trip her father took to Maine seeking work as teacher, where he inevitably met Griffin’s mother.
Griffin’s strongest performance of the night came with the regret laden ballad “Top of the World” (see video below).
After, Griffin treated the audience to another American Kid track yet did not reveal the name.
Griffin wrapped up the show with “No Bad News” and the rousing “Mary”. When she played the last note, the glean of the stage lights on her guitar casing looked like the first crack of sunlight through an eastern facing church’s stained glass windows. Miracle? Maybe not in the biblical sense but for those in the audience in Athens we left feeling a bit holier.
If I Had My Way
Long Ride Home
Stay on the Ride
Faithless *new song from American Kid due 2013
Wild Old Dog
Get Ready Marie
Poor Man’s House
Little God *didn’t finish song
Top of the World
Wherever You Wanna Go *new song title guessed
No Bad News
I’m Gonna Miss You When You’re Gone