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Patti Scialfa is a Singer/Songwriter

September 4, 2007

Not to be obsessed with Bruce or anything but...

Patti Scialfa performed this morning on The Today Show in support of her new release, "Play It As It Lays." With every introduction it was emphasized that she was, of course, the wife of Bruce Springsteen. Not once did they add that she was a member of the E Street Band well before she and Bruce tied the knot. They did mention her other albums and comment that the new songs were good. But, it was almost as if the announcers felt that they had to justify her being on the program, "Really, it's a legitimate CD - not simply the vanity project of a bored housewife."

Patti is not Linda McCartney, Paul's wife and professional photographer, who showed up in his later band Wings after the dissolution of the Beatles. When she tours (as she did with the Seeger Session Band), Patti is a contributing member of the ensemble. She has been a musician since her earliest days and was in Springsteen's band for 7 years before they married. If anything, the marriage has probably stalled her solo career as a talented singer/songwriter whose 1993 release, "Rumble Doll," received rave reviews.

So, let's judge musicians married to musicians on their own merit. Win or lose, they deserve to be treated as freestanding artists and not curiosities.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at September 4, 2007 11:14 AM


So, she's married to Bruce Springsteen, right?

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at September 4, 2007 2:56 PM

It's so much about having a story that makes you interesting to a show's producers.

I remember liking the single from "Rumble Doll" but the reviews I saw were pretty scathing. Plus, she's old. Almost as old as myself. And I would definitely have to marry a Springsteen -- maybe even a Sting or a Simon -- to get a Today Show appearance for a CD release.

Or maybe I could swing it if I had a kid like Tonya Harding, whose mother does write and sing. In fact, seeing her on TV once, I threatened my daughter that I'd write and sing about her if she ever got famous and turned on me for alleged childhood abuse. Aghast, she said, "Don't worry, Mommy, I never will."

Posted by: Joan Kennedy at September 5, 2007 1:31 PM

Joan--You have a point (although, I did read good reviews of Rumble Doll - lord, 1993 was a long time ago, perhaps before the Internet). Although, I bet Clarence Clemmons could get a Today Show spot based on being in the E Street Band. I just wish they would have said "E Street Band member and Bruce Springsteen's wife." The album is about the marriage in some ways, I've heard, so both connections are pertinent.

Posted by: Ann E VerWiebe at September 5, 2007 2:41 PM

Talent is not news. Talent with connections is small news.

Talent on a downhill slide is news.

Talent on a downhill slide with no undies and a crack pipe is BIG news.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at September 5, 2007 3:37 PM

She's no Linda McCartney, but also no Marianne Faithfull. I know that before Springsteen she got good work with Southside Johnny, Rolling Stones, others. That's an ability and a discipline most soloists lack, and probably a steadier income. That's what makes her interesting to me: that she's blessed with the ability to blend in, and maybe cursed with a longing to stand out. Being married to a mega-celebrity might just make it that much more tantalizing and painful, being a junior partner to someone who succeeds in the same arena you've always wanted to.

Posted by: Joan Kennedy at September 5, 2007 4:01 PM

"Talent on a downhill slide with no undies and a crack pipe is BIG news."

Don't try it Jim, it'll only lead to heartache for you and your crack dealer!

Posted by: Jack Swain at September 6, 2007 3:16 PM

I've kinda changed my mind on this one. Patti Scialfa's first two albums might have done a lot better if she'd been free to tour and promote them properly, and there's always the risk of just waiting too long and missing your shot. Something Springsteen said about her recording was "This is a great opportunity for Patti, she's put so much of herself into my music over the years." Which really puts it into perspective.

If she'd just been in Springsteen's band and not married or romantically linked to him, that in itself would probably have given her the chance for a solo project on a credible label, and without the baggage she has now. I agree with Ann, she deserves the shot on her own merits.

Posted by: Joan Kennedy at September 8, 2007 11:42 AM

Sliding anywhere with no undies'll give you a crack problem if you didn't have one in the first place mind ...

Posted by: Huw Pryce at October 11, 2007 5:23 AM

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