home listen a- z back next
Patty Griffin

Puremusic: So thanks for your time, first of all. I know there's precious little of it. What kind of a home and a family did you grow up in, and when did music really take hold of you as something that would direct your very life?

Patty Griffin: I grew up in Old Town, Maine. My mom is a French Canadian Catholic and my dad is a Boston Irish Catholic. There were seven children. I was number seven. I think the first awareness of music came from my mom's voice. She's just always singing, and had just the most amazing voice when I was a child.

PM: Really? Could she sing like you can sing?

PG: She had more of a silky sweet soft thing going on.

PM: I see.

PG: I thought everybody's mom sang.


PG: I really did. It was very surprising to me that that wasn't true.

PM: Well, if you're the youngest of seven, are all the kids still alive and well somewhere?

PG: Everybody's--knock on wood, everybody is hanging in there. My parents are alive.

PM: Your parents are alive, too, wow.

PG: Yes, lucky for me.

PM: How far flung are the kids?

PG: My mom had seven kids in seven years, starting in 1957. And she took a year off in '63. They had two in '62 and decided to give it a rest, but conceived me in '63, and I was born in March '64.


PM: Wow.

PG: So she was pregnant for seven years. God bless her. I don't have children. [laughs]

PM: Yeah, right. I came from a family of six, too, and only one of us had any kids.

PG: Oh, wow. Isn't that funny?

PM: It was just like that. So how far apart did the kids end up? Are many in Maine, or all over the world?

PG: Most of them are in the northeast, which, now that I live in Texas, seems like all of them live near each other. Philly, DC, a few in Boston and a couple in Maine.

PM: What were you like as a young person and in school?

PG: Well, I don't really have an outsider's perspective on that. I think that my point of view is I was a pretty shy kid. But I made friends easily at the same time, for quite a while. I don't know. [laughs] I don't know what to say. That's a tough question.

PM: Yeah. And as you say, we never have an outsider's perspective on it, but just our own. Would you say that your personality has changed a lot over time, or are you who you ever were?

PG: I think the fundamental core is the same. I think the way I operate and the way I may understand things has changed quite a bit [laughs] over the last forty-two years.

PM: Yeah, one hopes so, right. I first heard you sing in the Bluebird in the 90s somewhere.

PG: Oh, wow.

PM: I was sitting right next to you, and you were in the round. I think you were even sitting in. And you sang a song that was so good that I just reflexively stood right up and started walking out without even thinking about it. And I said to you on the way out, "Well, it's not going to get any better than that, I'm leaving." And you smiled at me very nicely and said, "Thanks." It was really an amazing first impression.

PG: Oh, cool, thanks.

PM: The depth of your talent considered, but aside, it's still amazing all that's happened and all you've accomplished, all the greats you've made good music with, the Chieftains and Emmylou and Gillian and David and Buddy and Julie, just to name a few. But this is a question, really: I mean, I think it's amazing. Is it amazing, and is it still amazing to you, all that's happened and all that you've accomplished?

PG: Oh, yeah. Again, from my point of view, I don't look at it like accomplishments, I look at it like luck.


PG: Like, "Wow, how did I get next to these people? How are they letting me within inches away from singing with them? How come they let me do that?" That's how I feel about it.

PM: It's a beautiful thing.  continue

print (pdf)     listen to clips      puremusic home