Patty got her first guitar when she was sixteen and immediately began writing
songs. Aside from a brief stint in a cover band, she didn't do much public performing.
At one point, she even moved to Florida for two years in a vain attempt to give
up music. But after that was over, she moved to Boston where she didn't quite
become part of the Boston-Cambridge scene, although she came to know many performers.
Again, she did very little public performing, though she was writing all the while.
"I was too timid to get out there, and I think I was kind of overwhelmed
by the city, coming from such a small town. And I had a lot of work to do."
Though Griffin is now identified as a folkish singer-songwriter, most of her Boston
influences came from rock bands like Morphine, Treat Her Right and the Immortals.
"I lacked confidence-I didn't feel like I had enough to offer a rock band.
But I always felt like I wrote rock songs," she says. "It was all I
listened to. I used to think, 'Don't call me a folksinger.' I used to get really
insulted by that. I thought it kind of stuck me out in the field with all the
She made her first album in 1995 at the Daniel Lanois-owned Kingsway Studio
in New Orleans. It was heavily produced, "very beautiful but I felt like
I played a really small part in it. Fortunately, the record label hated it.
But they loved the demos." Rather than redo the album, Patty proposed simply
releasing the demos, which she recorded in a very humble and cramped studio
in Boston, featuring just her voice and guitar. The result was, if not a huge
hit, an Americana sensation titled Living With Ghosts, which enabled Griffin
to set out on a very long solo tour.
In Nashville, she began work on her next album with producer Jay Joyce of iodine,
a noisy, adventurous rock band. The move meant she could work in a house, rather
than cramming into a rehearsal studio as she had in the Northeast, and that
meant being able to work on the album over a period of months. The result was
Flaming Red, which opens with the belligerent, punkish title track and then
settles into modern singer-songwriter mode. It was finished and released without
complaint and with a fair amount of record label support. And Patty's sophomore
offering was received enthusiastically in the press and at radio stations that
still play songs, not just beats. Griffin hit the road again, touring with a
band to support Flaming Red's release and opening for such notables as Emmylou
Harris and Lucinda Williams, which exposed her to more people and furthered
her ever-growing loyal following.