Patty Griffin at Town Hall

East Coast Rocker 5/19/04

AN EVENING WITH PATTY GRIFFIN TOWN HALL NYC 5/8/04

Patty GriffinA rich texture of melody and rhythms chugged and slinked from the versatile four-to-five piece band supporting the soulful country-blues silk of Patty Griffin’s songs during a nearly two-hour performance that raised the historic rafters of Town Hall. The cozy venue normally reserved for opera and classical ensembles soared with energy from the sold-out crowd throughout, turning an intimate evening with one of America’s finest songsmiths into a rousing revival.

Grinning shyly beneath a wild crimson mane, the delightfully engaging Griffin chatted with the audience, sharing the stories behind her most moving compositions, while deftly jumping from acoustic guitar, piano and lead-singer stances that recalled a youthful Janis Joplin.

Griffin mostly concentrated on the striking new material from her latest “Impossible Dream” collection, the highlights of which included the whimsical optimism, of “Kite Song” to the gospel-tinged, “Standing”, to the baleful siren, “Love Throw a Line” to the chilling “Mother of God”. She also offered up old favorites like the sweet melancholia of “Rain”, the Muscle Shoals reverberation of “Chief” and a playful rendition of “Be Careful”, during which a giggling Griffin forgot some of the lyrics on two different occasions and sought the eager assistance of the packed house.

“This is a rare momentary lapse,” she chuckled beneath a telling whisper. “And these are the moments that make a night like this pretty special.”

But finally, it was Griffin’s angelic pipes which were in finest form on this night, as she wailed and crooned and bellowed to the rafters in a magnificently pitched performance worthy of her recorded work. A musical storyteller of exquisite range and emotion, Griffin thrives on the energy of a concert setting, providing a naked glimpse into the soul of her craft and a window into her limitless potential to describe the view.

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