Royal Oak Tribune
Patty Griffin starts virtual concert residency in Austin
Patty Griffin had just wrapped up touring to promote her self-titled last album when the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year. So she was ready to “sit down” for a bit.
Now, however, the singersongwriter will be standing up, and playing again, to support venues that have supported her over the years.
On Saturday, Nov. 7, Griffin begins a three-show virtual residency at the Continental Club in Austin, Texas, where she resides. She’s planning three distinct and different performances — the other dates are Nov. 21 and Dec. 5 — and may be joined by some special guests during the stretch. Proceeds will benefit a selection of music venues around the country, including ACL Live in Austin, that have been hard-hit by shutdowns during the pandemic.
• Griffin, 56, says by phone that her manager and agent brought the residency idea to her in August. “They’ve been on top of trying to keep the venues alive and help all the people who run them. They said, ‘Maybe you should get a life and try to do some gigs at this point.’ They just sort of threw the benefit into the thing without even talking to me about it, and I’m really grateful they did because I think it’s incredibly important. The more I think about it the more passionate I feel about it.”
• Griffin says the first show, accompanied by David Pulkingham, will be “very, very archival, a lot of things that maybe haven’t been played by me for over 20 years — just deep cuts that happen to be my favorite. I feel like in this setting, being online, we have a much more captive audience — or not, ’cause people can walk away, but we do a lot of things that are tough to pull off in a venue of over 100 people.”
• As for the other two shows, Griffin says, “I have no idea,” although she’s predicting that the third show will feature “groovier” and more upbeat material.
• Even though she was on break, Griffin says she now misses having the opportunity to perform if she’d want. “I’ve sort of thrown a blanket over myself and not allowed myself to think about missing anything, but it’s been rough. It’s been really hard for me. The whole thing is so indefinite, and you feel pretty helpless. It doesn’t seem there’s a lot you can actually contribute. These (shows) are what I can do to help.”
• Griffin has, however, started writing new material, which she describes, with a laugh, as “oddities.” She adds, “My mom, who’s 89, is always asking me if I’m writing anything. I wrote one of the strangest things I’ve ever written and read it to her over the phone, and she actually liked it. So it’s bringing out some strange things, this year. But I haven’t been that prolific. I haven’t been spending a lot of time worrying about being a songwriter until the last few weeks.”
Patty Griffin performs virtual concerts at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, as well as Nov. 21 and Dec. 5, live from the Continental Club in Austin, Texas. Tickets start at $25 per show, $60 for all three via watch.mandolin.com. Proceeds go to a selection of independent music venues impacted by COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.