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Living with Ghosts

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iTunes Review

Patty Griffin’s debut album rather loudly announces the emergence of a major talent. Her petite frame and sparse acoustic arrangements only accentuate her powerful delivery. Her voice can whisper seductively (“Not Alone”) and without warning rev up to an emotionally charged shriek (“Every Little Thing”). These dynamics infuse her tunes of loneliness with a fighting spirit that make them sound as much like victory speeches as admissions of loss. Griffin attempted to record this album proper; however, unhappy with the results, it was decided the demo tape of just voice and acoustic guitar that led to her recording contract was closer to the truth. Her songs have since been covered by an array of stars (Dixie Chicks, Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Reba McEntire) and her career’s bumpy road has smoothed somewhat. However, her divorce, the leap from waitressing in Boston to a music career, and her own sense of doom (“Nothing really matters in the end, you know / all the worries sever / don’t be afraid for me, my friend / one day we all fall down forever”) have made her a stubborn force. Tracks such as “Moses,” “Let Him Fly” and “Sweet Lorraine” are a worthy introduction.

Customer Reviews

Living With Ghosts

This is an unintended masterpiece. Patty Griffin... wow, that lady has some PIPES! I can't get enough of this sparse, elemental, honest CD. There is far too much emphasis these days on production and effects - to hear an entire CD of nothing but guitar and that tremendous voice is a reminder of what is still good in the world. Griffin's voice is a barely caged animal, and her percussive guitar work amply supports it. This CD is an homage to the idea that music shouldn't necessarily appeal to everyone, and that it shouldn't necessarily be easy to listen to all the time. This is soul music from the gut.

A good intro.

A good intro to Patty Griffin. Let him fly is a great song about detachment. Some great lines in Poor Man's House and Forgiveness such as "we are not snakes and what's more we never will be". The closing with Not Alone is beautifully restful.


Patty Griffin is a great American treasure. She is a great songwriter and a phenomenal vocalist. I could listen to her songs over and over again. She definitely makes the desert island list. While I like all of her CDs, I think her vocals may be best displayed on Living with Ghosts.


Born: March 16, 1964 in Old Town, ME

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A singer and songwriter whose literate, impressionistic storytelling and richly evocative melodies have made her one of the best-respected artists in the contemporary folk community, Patty Griffin was born in Old Town, Maine on March 16, 1964. The youngest of seven children, Griffin was 16 years old when she bought her first guitar for $50. While Griffin learned to play, she showed no interest in making music a career in her teens and twenties; however, when her marriage broke up in 1992, Griffin,...
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