Patty Griffin: Live from the Artists Den

On a cold winter New York City night in 2007, Patty Griffin performed songs from her new album.

Patty Griffin

Live from the Artists Den

Label: ATO
US Release Date: 2008-09-08

The opening of Patty Griffin’s Live at The Artists Den is startling. In her cover of Sam Cooke’s “Get Yourself Another Fool”, Griffin ends repeating the title lyric, reinterpreting the melody in each line, until softly and beautifully concluding the song. The reinterpretations alone are inspiring. Then, Griffin opens her speaking voice to say thank you, and you get a moment's realization that this woman, with a voice that can make buildings shake, is soft-spoken and unassuming. Griffin has established herself as one of the most beautiful and important voices of her time, and her performance in Brooklyn that night provides a rare opportunity to hear the songs from her 2007 record Children Running Through live. That release landed on a host of critics' year-end lists, but this performance is elevated by the excitement of a crowd hearing songs the very day Children Running Through made its way to the stores.

The Artists Den is quite a spectacle. The Ovation TV show takes musicians to interesting and often iconic locations to perform in front of what appears to be a mostly wine and cheese crowd. The correct selection of setting can elevate even the most pedestrian performance to an intriguing one. In this case, however, the room is not the star. Griffin's show at the Angel Orensanz Center for the Arts on February 6, 2007 was an intimate, invitation-only affair. Griffin’s then-new songs are front and center. Her storytelling feels more Southern than her Maine upbringing might suggest, but then storytelling really knows no region, and Griffin proves it. From her Cooke cover she moves on to her own composition “Stay on The Ride”, the bluesiest song of the set. “Trapeze” is a beautiful song drawn from her visit to the circus as a child in the Northeast.

The riskiest moment of the set is her cover of the French classic “J’irai La Voir Un Jour”. If there was to be a moment where her vocals could not carry the set, this would be it, but she delivers an astonishing version. Part of Griffin's allure and charm is how easily she moves in and out of genres and sounds. More versatile than many of her peers, she can sing a soul cover, a French ballad, and a country-tinged narrative in a single set without any of it feeling forced or out of place.

If there is any flaw on this collection, it would be that it tends to overstay its welcome. While the length is perfect for playing in the background, an active listener may find themselves searching for a bit more pick-me-up by the time she reaches “Standing”. Fortunately it picks back up, delivering on its promise, before wrapping up with “Top of the World”.

Patty Griffin’s Live at The Artists Den CD release (the set was also released on DVD) is a must-hear for fans, but it also serves as an infectious introduction to this unique songwriter and vocal performer. Often lumped in with the Lilith Fair crowd or compared to vocalists like Neko Case, Griffin is a singular and spectacular musician. This particular collection of songs and performance is pitch-perfect.





90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

A Lesson from the Avengers for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.


How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.


Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.


Paul Weller Dazzles with the Psychedelic and Soulful 'On Sunset'

Paul Weller's On Sunset continues his recent streak of experimental yet tuneful masterworks. More than 40 years into his musical career, Weller sounds as fresh and inspired as ever.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.