Patty Griffin There is something about Patty Griffin. It is not her vocal range, which time has diminished from its impressive peak two decades ago. It is not her musicianship. She is an adequate guitar, mandolin, and piano player; but recognizes her limitations enough to bring on tour David Pulkingham, whose instrumental mastery surpasses hers.

First, it is her songwriting. The simplicity of Patty's melodies hide the deepness of the lyrics and arrangements. Second, it is her emotional connection with an audience. When she sings, you can feel what she was feeling when she wrote the song. And when she talks, she connects with the audience as if we were old friends having a conversation.

She reinforced this connection Thursday night at The Old Towne School of Folk Music in Andersonville. A full house enjoyed two hours of music from Ms. Griffin, who captivated us all. She chatted with the audience between songs. She talked about the Chicago snow and reminded us to drive safely. She joked about growing up in Old Town, Maine, and how appropriate it was that she performed at a place with the same name. She told the story of the town's demise when the mills closed. She lamented the changes to her adopted home of Austin, Texas. She railed against Texas politicians, then apologized for talking politics.

Musical highlights included angelic melodies like "Mary" and "Heavenly Day" and the rousing finale, "No Bad News."

The night moved quickly as Griffin transitioned from song to song. Before I knew it, the show was over, and it was time to drive home in the Chicago snow.