Patty Griffin has long, long been a favorite of mine. Now a resident of Austin, she’s been releasing consistently great music for close to 20 years, and while the production and style changes within the scope of Americana — she’s delivered bare, acoustic tunes and gospel albums — her strong voice as a songwriter has continued to demonstrate her unparalleled talent. Griffin has the innate ability to showcase the human condition — to tell stories from all walks of life, allowing the listener to view the world through a different lens for that brief period. This sort of “old soul” songwriting is what made me fall in love and kept me in love over the years. Most recently, she released Servant of Love, another strong edition to her catalogue with a collection of beautiful folk and Americana tracks.
Patty’s recent performance at Town Hall was the same fierce, emotive experience that fans have come to expect, mixing tender moments with an element of foot-stomping fire. While the show was, of course, an opportunity for her to showcase new material from Servant of Love, even the older material seemed to focus on her more recent albums. There’s a sense of vulnerability that seems to be missing now — whether that’s purposeful or just the natural progression of her abilities as a songwriter and performer, it’s difficult to tell. The end result, however, is that she seems to shy away from earlier tracks that were a bit more raw or perhaps have a more personal emotional core.
Regardless of which albums she pulled from, though, her performance was flawless, and her band was stellar. The root of her appeal for me has always been in Patty Griffin’s melodies and vocal delivery, both of which were on full display at Town Hall. If you have a chance to catch her live, I highly recommend it. In the meantime, be sure to listen to Servant of Love (and basically her entire catalogue).