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As a songwriter, Patty Griffin has that rare gift of not saying too much. Clearly she writes from experience, yet her songs about strength, sadness and forgiveness are so compelling that it’s impossible not to relate to her lyrics on some level. And that powerful voice can make time stand still.
A longtime favorite among Nashville music fans, Griffin released a new CD, “Children Running Through,” in February, after taking time off the road to focus on songwriting. In addition, a musical based on her songs will be staged in New York in May. Numerous country artists have covered her material too, including the Dixie Chicks, Emmylou Harris, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride and the Wreckers.
Patty Griffin - "Where I Come From" youtu.be
From her home in Austin, she talks about her gay following, Living with Ghosts and her love for Annie Lennox.
So many people who admire you say, “I can’t believe she’s not famous!” Is that something you want, or that you’ve thought about?
Griffin: I think when I was 16 years old, I thought, “Wouldn’t that be cool? You could hang out with the Rolling Stones.” I don’t have those same aspirations now. I like my life. I think you end up where you need to be. … I don’t need to be Madonna! (laughs) I think I’m where I need to be and I think that can always change at any time. You don’t know what’s going to happen so I’m just trying to roll with it.
Do you remember when you first noticed you had support from the gay community?
Griffin: I think it’s probably getting the reaction to the song, “Tony.” Actually, my earliest memory of that is playing a gig in San Francisco and singing “Moses” on my first tour, and a bunch of guys yelling out and making a big deal out of that. I thought, “Ah!” I had never thought about that, connecting into that. I think that’s a really lucky thing because there are some special people that are gay and it’s a pretty lucky thing to get the attention from that community.
Many of your songs have a narrative element to them, so how do you think your music will translate to the stage?
Griffin: I have seen a run-through—an early, early run-through—and I was blown away. I thought (the writer) Keith Bunin did a great job. It’s kind of strange to think about that, but he makes it work. I’m all for people playing music and singing songs and people being entertained and moved. I think that a musical can do that just as well as anything, and it will be interesting to see how that goes, and to see it all put together, finally.
Did you draw on a specific memory when you wrote “Burgundy Shoes”?
Griffin: Yeah, I do remember taking the bus with my mom. I grew up in Old Town, Maine, and you could take the bus to the big city of Bangor, which is probably 15 minutes down the road, maybe a little bit longer in the bus. It was a big adventure when you’re three or four years old. It’s a huge adventure. My mom had her lipstick on, and I was like, “Wow! She is so beautiful.” It’s one of those really simple things that you remember that means a lot later. You don’t know it’s going to when it’s happening.
I have adopted a lyric from “Making Pies” as my personal motto: “You can cry or die or just make pies all day; I’m making pies.” You often put optimism at the end of a song. Do you think of that as a happy ending to a story?
You know what’s funny? When I wrote that, in my mind I wasn’t really answering that line. I was just going back to the chorus! And it does answer it. That was just one of those accidents at the time, which probably wasn’t really an accident. You’re just not aware of what you’re doing. It does answer that line with optimism—probably an optimism I was not aware that I possessed at the time.
Burgundy Shoes youtu.be
You often sing “Mary” as your encore. I know it was inspired by your grandmother. What is about her memory that really keeps that song relevant to what you do?
Griffin: When I first wrote that song, I was inspired by my Irish grandmother whom I never got to meet. I just have a photograph of her, but she is so beautiful in it and her spirit is kind of legendary. My dad tells stories about how she was really not afraid of very many things. (laughs) She loved a good laugh, and she was a funny lady. I think just from that photograph, I got a lot from looking at her smile. There’s a power and naturalness to her smile that really filled me up. But you know, my other grandmother, who just passed away this fall, was born speaking French. Everybody was named Marie back then and in a French Catholic family, you were Marie-Somebody and she was Marie-Imelda. She’s kind of Mary to me too now. She was the singer in my family. She and my mother were the singers that I learned from.
Do you find that people are curious about your first album, Living With Ghosts, and still want to hear songs from it?
Griffin: People definitely like that record a lot. Yeah, they do. And some of the songs, I have to say, I can’t do anymore. I am so far removed from that, at least right now, I can’t even revisit that and have it feel like anything that’s me. I mean, maybe someday. I do think things show up again and you’re OK with them. A lot of things on that record—at least one or two things—I’m not really interested in anymore. People are crying out for them in the shows and I can’t do it. (laughs) They have to wait. It might show up at some point.
Was it an artistic statement or an economical decision to produce it with, essentially, just you and a guitar?
Griffin: I was working as a telephone operator and saving up my money. When I had a few hundred bucks, I would book some studio time with this guy Steve Barry, an engineer who I thought was really good. I was really just concentrating on getting some gigs in Boston. They fell into a manager’s hands and then record company hands. That’s how it worked.
I have always loved your lyric from “Forgiveness:" “It’s hard to live, baby, but still I think it’s your best bet.”
Griffin: Yeah, there’s also this line that Annie Lennox did on the Diva record, when she says, “Dying is easy. It’s living that scares me to death.” I thought that was really good. It’s hard! I think people give up in a lot of ways, too. I think people shut down what they feel. That’s another way to give up. But then you miss out on the good stuff too. It’s a hard world to figure out and people have been trying to do it forever, literally.
Are there certain kinds of music that you reach for when you need a pick-me-up?
Griffin: Diva was my record for years. I thought that was really beautiful. Right now, for a couple of years running, I’ve really been interested in Sam Cooke, because that voice is just packed with a lot of mystery. It’s really sexy and it’s got a lot of spirit. There’s something sad about it too. I just really love him right now. I also have been listening to a lot of the old soul stuff, like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell duets. If you want to get off your ass, listen to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell sing together! That’s some un-cynical stuff right there. That’s so unafraid. That song, “You’re All I Need to Get By,” it’s so passionate and believable.
Can you write sad songs when you’re not sad?
Griffin: I don’t try to write a sad song. To me, singing is my church. I really get in touch with something there. You sit down with a guitar, and you can maybe feel better at the end of the night. Sometimes when you’re doing that, you get a song out of that too.
Are you ever concerned that your songs are going to be considered too sad or too sappy or tragic?
Griffin: I think everybody’s view on everything is subjective. You can’t walk around worrying about what people are going to think. Not everybody’s going to like you, or like what you do. That’s really interesting that you brought this up. I thought of this thing that’s going on in my life right now, and it’s such a relief that so many things I thought about that way, I don’t really care about anymore. I’m just trying to do what I do and really the only consciousness of writing this record went was trying to not be clever and not worry about what people thought about it. I was just letting myself write from the heart and think from the heart.
Visit Patty Griffin's website for the latest on her music and tours.
About the Author
Craig Shelburne is a writer and producer for www.CMT.com.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.