Monthly Archives: June 2009

An appreciation, after the cascade, of Patty Griffin

Anyone who can read and/or hear in any fashion knows that we’ve been deluged with a cascade of famous people passing on..many of us have faced loss on a far more personal and poignant level. We often declare to others and to ourselves that THIS TIME we’ll treat others better, appreciate the small things, live life more fully, etc etc etc, only to find ourselves back in the rut of the day-to-day rinse lather repeat rhythm that weakens the resolve to climb higher and seek the noble.

It really is hard to change. I’ve promised myself that I will..and maybe I’ve grown (perhaps you more than I), but it’s easy to norm, and pretty natural.

After my friend Robert died, and I wrote an appreciation AFTER the fact, I have vowed to appreciate my friends more, openly and, at times, in writing. Patty Griffin isn’t really my friend, even though I wish I knew her. There are few celebrities I really want to meet. I think I’d have little to say and perhaps I’d be disappointed that they really aren’t much different than most.

Patty G is a singer and a songwriter of the highest level. I’m not sure what I’d say first, but I’d love to sit on the front porch with a coffee or some other brew and just delve into what she finds interesting. I’d love to tell her that ‘Long Walk Home’ should be taught in English classes everywhere because it’s a great short story in song, with hints that can be richly explored. I want to tell her that the first time I heard ‘Flaming Red’ in a Borders Book store listening station in Knoxville I knew I had found someone who moved me as much as Otis Redding and Sam Cooke did when I was a kid listening to WLAC on my transistor radio.

I love that Patty has such a big voice in such a small frame. I love the flaming red hair and when she croons and when she rocks. I’ve been to many of her shows, including the Ryman Aditorium concert that was later released as a concert CD (I told my wife after the show that this would make a great recording – I’m such a genius), a concert that made the audience members laugh, cry and actually shut up with the chatter. You really could have heard a pin drop. She’s that good.

‘Oh Heavely Day’ still brings chills. Nothing but ‘Blue Skies’ still elevates my spirit. I just wanted to say all this while someone I appreciate and adore is still with us…

Thank you, Patty.



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