But despite all the paparazzi-like behavior on display, perhaps the most extraordinary part of the evening was the solo set Griffin opened with, which compelled every one of those 200 people to stand rapt, in pin-drop silence.This is the Patty Griffin Effect: when she sings, people listen. She could sing on a sidewalk during Mardi Gras and transform Bourbon Street into Carnegie Hall.I think I’m going to pass on that question since the upcoming tour is the League of Women one. Someone recently commented on You Tube that you are “the world’s most underrated artist.” What’s your reaction to that? I will say there’s a social consciousness to it, particularly related to women.That’s clear to me now, and it wasn’t when I was younger.But what made her Continental Club performance especially impressive was that she commanded that silence with a set of mostly new material, much of it deadly serious. Another drew a metaphor between an abandoned dog and God.And then there was the song about a soldier’s suicide.
The track is one of three that features Robert Plant.The Led Zeppelin frontman, whom Griffin is dating and with whom she collaborates in the rootsy Band of Joy, sings harmony and gets a co-writing credit for rearranging the track, Griffin says."We get a lot of energy from each other's singing," she notes of their creative back and forth.The cult singer/songwriter already connects with a legion of fans through songs detailing all manner of heartbreak and joy.But for her first album of new solo material since 2007's "Children Running Through It" (2010's Grammy Award-winning "Downtown Church" was a live recording), she says, "I wanted it to sound like I was in the room with you." To that end, she and producer Craig Ross hired her stage sound engineer Roy Taylor to rig up "a bunch of old microphones to get that local sound," while hunkered down at the "funky, lived-in" Zebra Ranch Studio located an hour outside of Memphis, owned by Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi All-Stars (both of whom play on the record).