Monday, May 31, 2010

Music Monday ~ Patty Griffin & That Mountain

Patty Griffin isn't on today's musical "A-List" - as far as celebrity status is concerned, though she has always been highly regarded by her peers. Perhaps it's part of the Sun in Pisces nature to remain in the background of things, while still contributing a lot. I had prepared a draft of this post back in March, near to her birthday, but didn't post it because I decided that readers would likely never have heard of this singer/songwriter. Perhaps that was my own ignorance coming to the fore!

Ms Griffin came to mind again last week when, in the American Idol final Crystal Bowersox chose one of her songs for her last performance: Up To The Mountain.

Rolling Stone calls Patty Griffin "One of the better-kept secrets of American music." Her performances are described in words such as pure, raw, sparse, stripped-down. Her songs have been covered by numerous well-known artists, often melancholy stories, or gospel themed songs, folk-ish, but also categorised as "Americana", though the appeal is universal.

On her website she writes that she was the youngest of a family of 7, and shy. Music afforded her a way of expressing herself. She didn't get into the music business proper until around age 30, though she'd been singing and playing guitar from her teens.

While her songwriting catalog has unexpectedly garnered much praise and income from successful covers of her material, Griffin recognizes the challenge of aging in a youth-dominated industry. She muses, “Getting older as a woman, especially as a performer, the doors start to close. Unless you’re willing to plow people down for help, there’s a sense that it’s ridiculous to ask for any attention at all. It’s a really strange experience. I just sort of decided, ‘What the hell? I’m going to keep on going anyway (laughs).’ You feel like you’re up against an ocean when you’re still doing this, but there are a lot of older women still hanging in there. I think that’s a fairly new thing, too. It’s rare, but it’s getting less and less rare.” Link.

Born on 16 March 1964 in Old Town, Maine.

I don't have much to say about Patty's natal chart, beyond what I wrote in the first paragraph. A time of birth is unavailable so we don't know whether her natal Moon was in Taurus or Aries, and rising sign remains a mystery. Venus, planet of the arts is in its home sign Taurus, and opposite creative Neptune in Scorpio. Neptune is also in helpful trine to Mars, reflecting, perhaps her energetic determination to "keep going", keep being creative.

Up To The Mountain is my favourite of all her songs. It's a tribute to Martin Luther King. The song lends itself to a variety of treatments. I've chosen the writer's own version, & the one by Crystal Bowersox, 2010's American Idol runner-up.
Up To The Mountain

I went up to the mountain
Because you asked me to
Up over the clouds
To where the sky was blue
I could see all around me
I could see all around me

Sometimes I feel like
I've never been nothing but tired
And I'll be walking
Till the day I expire
Sometimes I lay down
No more can I do
But then I go on again
Because you ask me to

Some days I look down
Afraid I will fall
And though the sun shines
I see nothing at all
Then I hear your sweet voice, oh
Oh, come and then go, come and then go
Telling me softly
You love me so

The peaceful valley
Just over the mountain
The peaceful valley
Few come to know
I may never get there
Ever in this lifetime
But sooner or later
It's there I will go
Sooner or later
It's there I will go


Wisewebwoman said...

Gee I wish I could see/hear all versions, T, but dialup forbids yet again.
One of my favourite songs.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ That's a shame....yes it really is a good one.