Happiness Amid Melancholy: Songs of Patty Griffin The songs of singer-songwriter Patty Griffin are full of heartbreak and longing — so much so that a friend recently challenged her to write a happy song. She discusses that song and her new CD, Children Running Through.

Happiness Amid Melancholy: Songs of Patty Griffin

Happiness Amid Melancholy: Songs of Patty Griffin

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Patty Griffin's new release is Children Running Through. Traci Goudie hide caption

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Traci Goudie

Patty Griffin's new release is Children Running Through.

Traci Goudie

Music from Patty Griffin

From Children Running Through:

'Heavenly Day'

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'No Bad News'

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'Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)'

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Singer-songwriter Patty Griffin moved to Austin, Texas, for love. She lost the love, but found a musical home.

Griffin, whose new CD is called Children Running Through, grew up in Maine — the youngest of seven children, all born within seven years. When she was about 12, she realized she liked to sing more than anything, and that she could get lost in music.

"I just started going into my room and literally going into my closet and singing into the clothes" so she wouldn't bother her family, she recalls.

When Griffin composes, she says the music and lyrics come at the same time.

"It's like sculpture and the rock: You have to chip away at it and not think too much and just keep going," she explains.

Griffin's songs are often shot through with a big streak of melancholy — so much so that a friend challenged her to write a "happier song." That challenge resulted in "Burgundy Shoes," a song on her new CD.

Griffin says she went back to a happy memory, and one of the first was waiting for the bus to the "big city" of her youth, Bangor, Maine.

"When you're little, everyone smiles at you because you're cute, so you think the world's great," she says. "Everything's so vivid. You're not clouded out by anxiety and you don't miss things.You see the sun, and you see your mom's lipstick and how beautiful she is."