Weekender

Grammy winners carry election season message to Eisenhower Auditorium

Patty Griffin has been on the Use Your Voice tour since February.
Patty Griffin has been on the Use Your Voice tour since February. Photo provided

When Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins and Anaïs Mitchell come to Penn State on March 16, they will be doing more than just playing music.

The artists, playing together on the “Use Your Voice Tour,” are hoping to increase awareness and voter turnout for the upcoming election season.

The tour began Feb. 12 and will be nearing the end of its run with a performance at Eisenhower Auditorium, presented by the Penn State Center for the Performing Arts. In a recent phone interview, Watkins said the musicians had really hit their stride and will be performing without a set list.

“We have been working up new songs at sound checks and doing each show as we feel it,” Watkins said. “Patty hoped that we would all be comfortable pulling something out of nowhere instead of singing what we all know.”

Watkins is best known for her work with the Grammy-winning bluegrass band Nickel Creek. She has also collaborated with The Decemberists and John Mayer and is preparing to release a new album this summer.

Griffin, also a Grammy winner, has crossed genres among gospel, folk, blues and more over the course of her 20-year career. Mitchell has been described as the “queen of modern folk” and wrote a folk opera called “Hadestown” that’s being performed as part of the New York Theatre Workshop’s 2015-16 season.

The “Use Your Voice” show will be performed in the round, with each artist pulling from her catalogue, as well as traditional folk songs.

The tour is presented in partnership with the League of Women Voters, and representatives from the Centre County chapter will be at the concert to distribute information on candidates and voter registration.

I am hoping with this tour to bang the drum about our democracy, about our communities and even about our neighbors down the street.

Patty Griffin

“I am hoping with this tour to bang the drum about our democracy, about our communities and even about our neighbors down the street,” Griffin said in a news release.

In preparation for the concert, the chapter held a Centre County Use Your Voice event Feb. 29 to encourage discussion about the issues female voters face, and how women can come together to make their voice heard.

“It’s been cool to have a cause be a part of the show rather than just promoting an album,” Watkins said. “It’s something that’s important and it feels good to have found that thing we want to say through this tour.”

IF YOU GO

  • What: Use Your Voice Tour
  • When: 7:30 p.m. March 16
  • Where: Eisenhower Auditorium, University Park
  • Info: www.cpa.psu.edu
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