As any admirer of Patti Smith, your Austin Music Minute maven knew that her 2010 memoir, Just Kids, would be essential reading. Must’ve read it at least four or five times. However, thanks to the book’s fluidity, its grace, its warmth, it became more than an autobiography of her life with artist and soul mate Robert Mapplethorpe.
Smith’s storytelling abilities are spellbinding, gently bringing you into her world through very candid observations of bohemian youth with a simple, unpretentious honesty that’s refreshing. But it’s very important to note Smith’s expressions, her selection of words – the way everything’s put together. Language is her medium.
Language is behind her exquisite pairing of rock and punk with poetry. Dig beyond the surface, and you discover more than a songwriter. You’ll find that poet, a visual artist, author and activist, revered as the “Godmother of punk.” Several contemporary musical artists cite her as a major influence upon their work. Many would even say Smith is a cultural icon. Yet, for all the fan devotion, critics’ praises, the awards for her work, she remains a humble student of life, always learning, still in love language.
Patti Smith performs tonight at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater, 801 Red River. Doors open at 7 p.m., and Smith takes to the stage at 8 p.m. Afterward, join songwriter Beth Hart for a show on the Stubb’s indoor stage at 9:30 p.m.