Passing her $50 dollars across the counter to the music store clerk, did Patty Griffin feel destiny nodding silently behind her 16-year-old shoulder? She had just bought her first guitar. The year was 1980 and Griffin had just taken the first steps onto the path leading to a record deal, numerous successful albums, and a stop in Pittsburgh for the 2010 Three Rivers Arts Festival.
Since her 1996 debut, Living with Ghosts, Patty Griffin’s heartfelt music has touched many. Her songs have been covered by a diverse range of artists including Bette Midler, Kelly Clarkson, and Solomon Burke. Her albums never fail to garner critical praise, In 2007, she won the Americana Music Association’s highest honor, the Artist of the Year award, for her album Children Running Through, a flawless piece of contemporary folk acknowledge as much for its lyrical content as for its transcendent instrumentation. Griffin chooses her words carefully, only to let them soar from the perfect circle of her mouth.
Downtown Church, Griffin’s most recent work, is a concept album exploring spirituality through Nashville’s renowned Downtown Presbyterian Church. Griffin and friends recorded the whole of the album at the storied site in an exhausting 5-day run. Infusing traditional country, folk and rock with gospel, Downtown Church works through Griffin’s complex feelings about religion, creating a thoughtful album that appeals to a variety of listeners.
Griffin’s approach to Americana depends on intimacy, a connection between the listener and the musician forged in melody and rhythm and harmony. The large number of tours she has participated in, playing with such giants as Emmylou Harris and Kris Kristofferson, leaves no doubt as to her ability to achieve this intimacy, even in an open-air setting like Point State Park. Her performance will close this year’s Three Rivers Arts Festival and please believe we’ve saved something special for last.
6:00pm, Sunday, June 13
Dollar Bank Stage at Point State Park