Singer-songwriter Patty Griffin returned to Norman’s Sooner Theatre for a nearly sold-out performance in late October. Mercury Photo Bureau was on hand to cover the concert. [Sidenote: Thanks to Nicole Hauer and Stephanie Flick of Nashville’s Vector Management for clearing the way for me to photograph.]
Since catching the public ear with her sophomore release, Flaming Red, the fiery-haired chanteuse has released a string of well-received recordings, while simultaneously maintaining a career as an in-demand backup vocalist for such artists as Robert Plant, Joshua Radin, Dierks Bentley and Todd Snider.
Patty has collaborated with many notable musicians, including Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, and Regina and Ann McCrary, and her songs have been featured on numerous popular TV shows and motion pictures.
Griffin’s set shifted from down-tempo, quiet ballads (Railroad Wings) to gut-wrenching, distorted blues (the spine-tingling, short-hairs-raising Flaming Red). During the numerous guitar re-tunings (a result of her hard playing on the raucous rockers), she kept the audience entertained with stories about growing up and of life as a touring musician, and with backstories to the songs.
Hailing from Taos, NM, singer Max Gomez opened for Patty with a slew of self-penned tunes. Often featuring opaque lyrics, the songs draw from a deep well of traditional folk and blues — Gomez acknowledges the influence of the past (Lead Belly, “Big” Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson). But he also owes much to contemporary masters of the acoustic folk + singer-songwriter veins (Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristofferson, Guy Clark, John Hiatt).
Max’s mother, Tonia, was present for the show; see the gallery for her portrait. His debut CD, Rule the World, is available for pre-order on Amazon. His debut single, Run from You, is available on iTunes now.