‘It’s always good to scare yourself half to death,” said Patty Griffin as she stood alone with a guitar on stage, no band to protect her. Though it’s been years since she’s played full shows entirely solo, she need hardly have worried. Saturday was the first of two consecutive nights at Club Passim that together sold out in four — count ’em, four — minutes. Some in the audience admitted to becoming Passim members solely to buy tickets. She would have had to screw up pretty badly to let anyone down.
Suffice it to say, Griffin had little trouble winning over the room. With few obstructions, it was easy to focus on a richly textured voice with the character for country music but with a heavier drawl in place of a twang (perhaps a result of growing up in Maine). As a result, she sang as though she wasn’t done chewing on her words, which worked wonders on the fierce desperation of “Making Pies” and “Poor Man's House” and the soft but strong conviction of Hank Williams’s “House of Gold.”