Born to an Irish-American father and French-Canadian mother, Patty Griffin grew
up in a house filled with music. Her mother would sing as she did housework and
her grandmother's family used to sing on their porch at night, watching the sun
go down and harmonizing. At sixteen, Patty bought herself a $55.00 used Honer
guitar and began writing music. In high school, along with some friends, she
formed the band Patty & The Executives and they would play cover songs at local
In 1985, after residing briefly in Florida, Patty moved to the Boston area.
While working day jobs as a pizzeria waitress and a Harvard telephone operator,
Patty continued to write poetry and play her guitar. Scraping together enough
money, she recorded a set of demos produced and mixed by Steve Barry. It almost
immediately attracted the attention of A&M Records, who signed her to a
Patty went to Daniel Lanois' Kingsway Studios in New Orleans to record fresh
versions of the same songs that had appeared on her demo tape. The full-band
project was produced by Lanois prot?g?, Malcolm Burn. The record label hated it,
but loved the demos.
Living With Ghosts is a raw work of bare and powerful songs, just a
lone voice and an acoustic guitar. After the release of the album, Patty went on
tour, joined the Lilith Fair tour for several shows, moved to Nashville and
began work on her next album.
Flaming Red was released in the spring of 1998, and good things
started to happen as Patty toured in support of the album. She appeared on
several late night television shows as well as recording an episode of Sessions
on West 54th Street. She was opening for the likes of Lucinda Williams and
Emmylou Harris and artists like Bette Midler, Martina McBride, Emmylou Harris
and Linda Ronstadt were recording her songs. Most significantly, perhaps, the
Dixie Chicks recorded ?Let Him Fly? for their popular album Fly, establishing
themselves as huge Patty supporters and drawing a lot of attention to the
In early 2000, now living in Austin, Patty went back into the studio to record
Silver Bell. The album was to be released in September of that year. The
recording sessions again took place in the New Orleans? Kingsway Studios and
were produced by Malcolm Burn, along with Jay Joyce and Craig Ross. This would
be one of the very last records to come out of Lanois' infamous New Orleans
studio. Music industry mergers left Patti in the middle and Silver Bell
become her second full album to never be released. Patty appeared on an Austin
City Limits show that year with Emmylou Harris, Buddy and Julie Miller and Dave
Matthews. Matthews, who was not familiar with Patty's work, was so moved when
she sang ?Top of the World?, that he quickly signed her to his artist-friendly
label, ATO Records.
The highly regarded album
1000 Kisses was released in 2002 and was later nominated for a
Grammy in the Best Contemporary Folk Album category, along with Johnny Cash,
Nickel Creek, who would ultimately win the award for their album,
In 2002, Patty participated as a part of the Songwriters Tour along with Mary
Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin and Dar Williams. The Dixie Chicks would again
recognize Patty's songs by recording two of the unreleased Silver Bell
songs (?Truth #2? and ?Top of the World?) on their award-winning album,
Impossible Dream, produced by Craig Ross, was released in 2004.
After touring extensively following the release of the album and during the
summer of 2004, Patty also participated in the Sweet Harmony Traveling Revue
tour, along with Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Buddy Miller and Emmylou Harris.
Patty again received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Other
nominees were Eliza Gilkyson, a Carter Family tribute, Ani DiFranco and Steve
Earle, who won the award for his album,
The Revolution Starts...Now.