Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Her Music Also Comes with a Call to Action

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Her Music Also Comes with a Call to Action

Article excerpt

Patty Griffin's current tour is bringing a musical and civic message to audiences. First, the acclaimed singer-songwriter wants fans to enjoy her music, including songs from her new album, "Servant of Love," whose poetic lyrics carry personal and universal themes.

"When you do something musically in front of an audience, I think the intention is to connect emotionally," said Griffin, who performs on Friday in Morristown. "Anytime something touches your heart, you're probably better for it. I aim for that when playing to audiences."

In addition, Griffin hopes to inspire fans to vote in the presidential and local elections. She's teamed with the League of Women Voters to help people register to cast their ballots. Representatives from the League will speak before the show and be available to answer questions from concertgoers.

"This is a non-partisan effort," Griffin said by phone. "There is such a low voter turnout nationally. We could be doing so much better. The League of Women Voters is a great resource to find out what's going on politically and how to participate in that process."

The performance on Friday is not a traditional concert with opening acts taking the stage before Griffin. It's an intimate singers-in-the-round performance in which Griffin, Sara Watkins and Anais Mitchell will share the stage and perform together and individually. They will play their own material and songs by other artists.

Watkins, a singer-songwriter and fiddler, founded Nickel Creek, a progressive bluegrass group. Mitchell has been dubbed by some as the "queen of modern folk music."

"I've never worked with them onstage so it's a brand new feeling," Griffin said. "They're so gifted in so many ways. We threw out the set list already. It's very spontaneous and a lot of fun."

Griffin is supporting her ninth disc, "Servant of Love," which was released in September. It's a weighty effort, with reflective and questioning lyrics that challenge listeners to find their own meanings. A line from the album's opening title track, "Words from the deep, calling to me," can be seen as representing Griffin's songwriting and personal philosophy on the disc. …

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