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Patty Griffin
Griffin performing at Sound Stage in Central Park, New York, September 17, 2008
Griffin performing at Sound Stage in Central Park, New York, September 17, 2008
Background information
Birth namePatricia Jean Griffin
Born (1964-03-16) 16 March 1964 (age 60)
Origin Old Town, Maine, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
Years active1992–present

Patricia Jean Griffin (born March 16, 1964) is an American singer, songwriter, and musician. [1] She is a vocalist and plays guitar and piano. She is known for her stripped-down songwriting style in the folk music genre. Her songs have been covered by numerous musicians, including Emmylou Harris, Ellis Paul, Kelly Clarkson, Rory Block, Dave Hause, Sugarland, Bette Midler and The Chicks.

In 2007, Griffin received the Artist of the Year award from the Americana Music Association, and her album Children Running Through won the award for Best Album. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting at the 2023 Americana Music Honors & Awards. In 2011, Griffin's album Downtown Church won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album and her 2019 self-titled album won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album.


Griffin is from Old Town, Maine, United States, next to the Penobscot Native American reservation. The youngest child in her family, with six older siblings, she bought a guitar for $50 at age 16. She sang and played but had no inclination to become a professional musician. After a 6-year marriage, which ended in 1994, Griffin began playing in Boston coffee houses and was "scouted" by A&M Records, which signed her on the strength of her demo tape. When the finished studio recordings were submitted to A&M, the company executives thought it was overproduced, so producer Nile Rodgers and A&M instead released a stripped-down reworking of her demo tape as the album Living with Ghosts. [2]

Griffin's second album, Flaming Red, released in 1998, was a departure from the acoustic sound of Living with Ghosts, with a mix of mellow songs and high-tempo rock and roll songs. The title track, "Flaming Red", is an example of the latter, beginning with an even beat until it increases to a fevered pitch of emotion. Another song from the album, "Tony", is also featured on the charity benefit album Live in the X Lounge.

Her third album, Silver Bell, has a sound similar to its predecessor. It was released by A&M in 2013, 13 years after it was recorded (and well after bootlegged copies had been circulated). A&M dropped Griffin's contract after Silver Bell was recorded, and she was then signed by Dave Matthews' ATO Records. Griffin re-recorded songs from that album for later releases, such as "Making Pies", "Mother of God", "Standing", and " Top of the World". Copies of the unreleased Silver Bell were leaked and bootlegged and can be easily acquired by the B&P ( blanks and postage) method on message boards. [3] In August 2013, it was announced that UMe planned to release Silver Bell, mixed by producer Glyn Johns, in October 2013. [4]

Four albums followed on ATO: 1000 Kisses (2002), A Kiss in Time (2003), Impossible Dream (2004), and Children Running Through (2007).

In 2004, Griffin toured with Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings as the Sweet Harmony Traveling Revue. On February 6, 2007, she released Children Running Through. The album debuted at number 34 on the Billboard 200, with 27,000 copies sold. [5] Of the album, Griffin told Gibson Lifestyle, "I just kind of felt like singing what I wanted to sing, and playing how I wanted to play. It's not all dark and tragic. It's a different way for me to look at things. Getting old—older, I should say, I'm not so serious all the time." [6] It was also said that the album was inspired by her childhood. [7]

Griffin's songs have been recorded by numerous artists, including the Irish-born singer Maura O'Connell ("Long Ride Home"), Linda Ronstadt ("Falling Down"), The Chicks ("Truth No. 2", "Top of the World", "Let Him Fly", "Mary"), Bette Midler, Melissa Ferrick and Missy Higgins ("Moses"), Beth Nielsen Chapman, Christine Collister, and Mary Chapin Carpenter ("Dear Old Friend"), Jessica Simpson ("Let Him Fly"), Martina McBride ("Goodbye"), Emmylou Harris ("One Big Love", "Moon Song"), Bethany Joy Galeotti ("Blue Sky"), the Wreckers ("One More Girl"), Keri Noble and Ruthie Foster ("When It Don't Come Easy"), Joan Osborne ("What You Are"), Solomon Burke (" Up to the Mountain"), Miranda Lambert ("Getting Ready"), and Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors ("Long Ride Home"). Kelly Clarkson performed " Up to the Mountain" with Jeff Beck on guitar, accompanied by some orchestration on the " Idol Gives Back" episode of American Idol, and the live recording was released as a single immediately afterwards, reaching number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its first week and giving Griffin her highest-charting position as a songwriter. (The audience gave Clarkson a standing ovation following her performance.) Griffin's version of the song was featured in episode 11 of the fourth season of the ABC television show Grey's Anatomy.

Instruments, effects, and sound

  • 1965 Gibson J-50 Guitar
  • 1993 Gibson J-200 Junior Guitar [8]
  • Charles Fox Guitar [9]

Recent work

Griffin performing at the North Carolina Museum of Art in 2006

In September 2008, Griffin sang "You Got Growing Up to Do" in a duet with indie artist Joshua Radin on his album Simple Times. In October 2008, she sang background vocals on Todd Snider's cover of John Fogerty's " Fortunate Son" for Snider's Peace Queer album. In February 2009, she was featured on the album Feel That Fire, by Dierks Bentley, in a duet on the song "Beautiful World". In 2009, Griffin, along with Mavis Staples and the Tri-City Singers released a version of the song "Waiting for My Child to Come Home" on the compilation album Oh Happy Day: An All-Star Music Celebration. [10]

Griffin performing "Up To the Mountain" at the Carter Reception Dinner during the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2014

The collaboration with Staples led EMI's Peter York to suggest Griffin make an album of gospel songs. Griffin agreed on the condition that friend and bandmate Buddy Miller produced the record. [11] The album, Downtown Church (her sixth studio album), recorded at the Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville, was released on January 26, 2010. [12] The album, featuring Shawn Colvin, Emmylou Harris, and Griffin's long-time friends Buddy and Julie Miller, contains songs by Hank Williams, Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, and "All Creatures of Our God and King" (credited to St. Francis of Assisi). [13]

In July 2010, Robert Plant toured the United States with Band of Joy (reprising the name of his band in the 1960s), with Griffin as a backing vocalist and singer-guitarist Buddy Miller, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Darrell Scott, bassist-vocalist Byron House, and drummer-percussionist-vocalist Marco Giovino. She is also featured on Plant's solo album Band of Joy, released in September 2010 by Rounder Records. [14]

In 2014 Griffin parted with Plant after a long relationship; they had lived together and divided their time between Austin, Texas, and England. [15] In 2019, Griffin released "River", a track from her upcoming self-titled album and her first new music since battling breast cancer. Patty Griffin was released on March 8, 2019. [16]

On January 11, 2019, along with an official announcement of her new album release Patty Griffin (on her PGM Recordings label via Thirty Tigers), a new song, "River", she announced a 2019 concert tour. [17] She followed this with Tape in 2022.

Film, television, and theater

In 1997, Griffin's song "Not Alone", from the album Living with Ghosts, was used in the final scene and ending credits for the 1997 film Niagara, Niagara. It was also used at the end of episode 6 ("Believers") of season 1 of the television series Crossing Jordan, broadcast on October 29, 2001; on the 2009 release of the soundtrack from the television series Without a Trace; and at the end of episode 12 of season 10 of the television series NCIS, which aired on January 15, 2013.

Griffin has appeared in several movies, including Cremaster 2 and Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown, the soundtrack of which includes her song "Long Ride Home" and a cover of " Moon River", by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini.

In 1997 her song "One Big Love", from the album Flaming Red, was used in the final scenes and credits of the film Digging to China.

In 2004, her song "Rowing Song" was used in episode 9 ("The Trick Is to Keep Breathing") of season 2 of the television series One Tree Hill.

In 2005, her songs "Cold As It Gets", "Rowing Song" and "Forgiveness" were featured in Tim Kirkman's film Loggerheads starring Bonnie Hunt, Tess Harper, Chris Sarandon, Michael Learned, Kip Pardue, and Michael Kelly. Only "Cold As It Gets" and "Forgiveness" appear on its soundtrack.

The 2006 film Griffin and Phoenix included "Nobody's Crying" and "Rain."

In 2006, her song "Rain" was used in episode 17 ("The Skull in the Desert") of season 1 of the television series Bones.

Griffin playing an acoustic guitar and singing
Griffin in 2019

In 2007, her song “Heavenly Day” was featured prominently at the end of episode 16 (“Promise”) of season 6 of the television series “ Smallville”.

In 2007, the Atlantic Theater Company produced 10 Million Miles, an off-Broadway musical, directed by Michael Mayer, with music and lyrics by Griffin.

In 2009, her song "Mary" was used in episode 10 of season 2 of Sons of Anarchy, and "When It Don't Come Easy" closed out season 2, episode 8 of In Plain Sight.

Griffin's first DVD, Patty Griffin: Live From the Artists Den, was filmed on February 6, 2007, at the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts on New York's Lower East Side and released later that year. Selections from the DVD were featured on the program Live from the Artists Den on Ovation TV, beginning January 24, 2008.

In 2007, Griffin was named Artist of the Year by the Americana Music Association, the top honor bestowed by the association, and her album Children Running Through was selected as Best Album. At the awards ceremony she performed "Trapeze" with Emmylou Harris harmonizing. [18]

On June 13, 2008, Griffin performed an acoustic-in-the-round set in Nashville with Kris Kristofferson and Randy Owen ( Alabama), for a taping of a PBS songwriters series aired in December 2008. Each of them played five songs; Griffin performed "Top of the World," "Making Pies," "No Bad News," "Up to the Mountain," and "Mary."

In Jan 2013, the song "You Are Not Alone" was featured in episode 12 of season 10 of NCIS.

In May 2013, her song "Heavenly Day" was used in a commercial for Chevy's new Volt line of automobile, entitled " Volt: Silent Statement".

In May 2015, her song "Go Wherever You Wanna Go" was used in episode 22 of season 10 of the television series Supernatural.

In 2015, the song "Let him fly" was a turning point for Nick Yarris in the documentary "The Fear of Thirteen".

In 2018, the song "Heavenly Day" was featured in episode 5 of season one in the Netflix series Haunting of Hill House.

In 2023, Patty's 2013 performance of her song "I'm Gonna Miss You When You're Gone" in the Bing Lounge at 101.9 KINK.FM. [19] was included in Nick Cassavetes's action-thriller film God is a Bullet.


Studio albums

Title Details Peak chart positions
US Christ

US Indie
US Rock
US Taste
Living with Ghosts
  • Release date: May 21, 1996
  • Label: A&M
  • Formats: CD, cassette
Flaming Red
  • Release date: June 23, 1998
  • Label: A&M
  • Formats: CD, cassette
1000 Kisses
  • Release date: April 9, 2002
  • Label: ATO
  • Formats: CD, cassette
Impossible Dream 67
Children Running Through
  • Release date: February 6, 2007
  • Label: ATO
  • Formats: CD, music download
34 2 5
Downtown Church
  • Release date: January 26, 2010
  • Label: Credential
  • Formats: CD, music download
38 1 1 7 8
American Kid
  • Release date: May 7, 2013
  • Label: New West
  • Formats: CD, LP, music download
36 4 5 11 3
Silver Bell
  • Release date: October 8, 2013
  • Label: A&M, UMe
  • Formats: CD, LP, music download
64 5 22 25
Servant of Love
  • Release date: September 25, 2015
  • Label: Self-released / Thirty Tigers
  • Formats: CD, LP, music download
68 3 8 15 13
Patty Griffin
  • Release date: March 8, 2019
  • Label: PGM (Self-released) / Thirty Tigers
  • Formats: CD, LP, music download
11 5 46 5
  • Release date: June 10, 2022
  • Label: PGM (Self-released) / Thirty Tigers
  • Formats: CD, LP, music download
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Live albums

Title Details
A Kiss in Time
  • Release date: October 7, 2003
  • Label: ATO
  • Formats: CD, cassette
Patty Griffin: Live from the Artist's Den
  • Release date: September 9, 2008
  • Label: Artists Den
  • Formats: Music download, DVD
Before Sunrise (Live 1992)
  • Release date: February 13, 2020
  • Label: Lo-Light Records
  • Formats: Music download, streaming

Other contributions


Year Title Peak positions Album

1997 "Every Little Bit" [27] Living with Ghosts
1998 "One Big Love" 5 Flaming Red
1999 "Blue Sky" 7
2002 "Rain" [28] 1000 Kisses
"Chief" [29]
2004 "Love Throw a Line" [30] Impossible Dream
2007 "Heavenly Day" 17 Children Running Through
2013 "Ohio" [31] American Kid
2015 "Rider of Days" [32] Servant of Love
2019 "River" [33] Patty Griffin
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

As a featured artist

Year Title Peak positions Album
US Country
2009 "Seeing Stars"
( Jack Ingram featuring Patty Griffin)
54 Big Dreams & High Hopes

Music videos

Year Video Director
1996 "Every Little Bit"
1998 "One Big Love"
2002 "Chief" Traci Goudie
2003 "Rain"
2004 "Love Throw a Line"
2009 "Beautiful World" (with Dierks Bentley)
2010 "Little Fire"
2013 "Ohio" Roy Taylor


  1. ^ Griffin, Patricia Fan website biography Archived July 28, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Harris, Craig (accessed March 17, 2008) Billboard com
  3. ^ "PattyNet • Index page". Archived from the original on January 5, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  4. ^ Votaw, Emily (July 31, 2013). "Patty Griffin's Lost 'Silver Bell' Album to Be Released in October". Billboard. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  5. ^ "Fall Out Boy Hits 'High' Note with No. 1 Debut | Billboard". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 5, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
  6. ^ Ellen Mallernee, Ellen Gibson Lifestyle article Archived May 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Cole, Katherine (February 20, 2007). "Childhood Reflections Inspire Patty Griffin on Latest CD". VOA News. Voice of America. Archived from the original on January 16, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  8. ^ "Play Guitar Like Patty Griffin - Fretbase". September 5, 2012. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  9. ^ "Weekend music picks: Jack Ingram, Patty Griffin and more swap songs at ACL Live – Austin Music Source". Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  10. ^ "Jon Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah go gospel for "Day"". Reuters. March 27, 2009.
  11. ^ "Downtown Church Press Release". Big Hassle. December 7, 2009. Archived from the original on December 20, 2009.
  12. ^ "Patty Griffin – Downtown Church". Amazon. December 7, 2009.
  13. ^ "Patty's Next Album: Downtown Church". Patty Central. December 7, 2009. Archived from the original on November 3, 2009.
  14. ^ Kreps, Daniel (March 26, 2010). "Robert Plant's New Band of Joy Plot Album, Summer Tour". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 29, 2010. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  15. ^ "First Listen: Robert Plant, "Lullaby and... the Ceaseless Roar"". NPR. September 11, 2014.
  16. ^ "Patty Griffin Debuts New Single 'River' from Latest Album — Her First Since Battling Breast Cancer". People. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  17. ^ "PATTY GRIFFIN ANNOUNCES 3/8 RELEASING ALBUM, "PATTY GRIFFIN" via Thirty Tigers". Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  18. ^ Shelburne, Craig (accessed March 14, 2008) CMT: Patty Griffin Wins Americanas Highest Honor
  19. ^ Patty Griffin - I'm Gonna Miss You When You're Gone (Bing Lounge), retrieved November 13, 2023
  20. ^ "Patty Griffin Chart History – Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  21. ^ "Patty Griffin Chart History – Christian Albums". Billboard. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  22. ^ "Patty Griffin Chart History – Folk Albums". Billboard. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  23. ^ "Patty Griffin Album & Song Chart History – Independent Albums". Billboard. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  24. ^ "Patty Griffin Album & Song Chart History – Rock Albums". Billboard. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  25. ^ "Patty Griffin Chart History – Tastemaker Albums". Billboard. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  26. ^ "Patty Griffin Chart History - Adult Alternative Airplay". Billboard. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  27. ^ "Reviews & Previews" (PDF). Billboard. February 1, 1997. p. 64.
  28. ^ "Going for Adds - Triple A" (PDF). Radio & Records. March 22, 2002. p. 32.
  29. ^ "Going for Adds - Triple A" (PDF). Radio & Records. August 16, 2002. p. 31.
  30. ^ "Going for Adds - Triple A" (PDF). Radio & Records. March 19, 2004. p. 24.
  31. ^ "Song premiere: Patty Griffin's 'Ohio'". USA Today. March 25, 2013.
  32. ^ "Songs We Love: Patty Griffin, 'Rider of Days'". NPR. July 27, 2015.
  33. ^ "Patty Griffin Debuts New Single 'River' from Latest Album — Her First Since Battling Breast Cancer". People. January 11, 2019.
  34. ^ "Patty Griffin Chart History - Hot Country Songs". Billboard. Retrieved March 5, 2022.

External links

Preceded by AMA Album of the Year (artist)
Succeeded by
Preceded by AMA Artist of the Year
Succeeded by