Beth Patterson is an Irish folk and Celtic musician.
Combining traditional Irish, Celtic and folk ballads with Cajun, world-beat and progressive rock influences, her own creative songwriting and a unique sense of humor, Patterson's wit, charm, and beauty are as memorable as her powerful music.
A native of Lafayette, Louisiana, Patterson began her professional career in her teens as a classical oboist and a Cajun bass player. She spent a year studying traditional Irish music and ethnomusicology at University College Cork in Ireland, where she began to experiment with musical fusion. She later finished her bachelor's degree in Music Therapy from Loyola University New Orleans. Today her preferred instrument is the Irish bouzouki, a tear-shaped eight-string instrument of Greek origin that became popular in Irish music in the 1960s. She plays a 10-string version as well.
She was a founding member of the ensemble The Poor Clares, who debuted at the New Orleans Jazz Festival to rave reviews. The Poor Clares' albums include Change of Habit and Songs for Midwinter, distributed nationally on the Centaur label. Since then, Patterson has released four albums, on the Little Blue Men Records label, include two studio productions, the somewhat more traditionally-oriented but still musically eclectic Hybrid Vigor, the world-beat and progressive-rock-influenced Take Some Fire, and the 2005 live album, Caught in the Act. Her new 2009 release, On Better Paths, is the most daring, crossing boundaries of form and genre even further. The recording received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album. She has also played on and produced other albums, most recently on the album Orin by the Breton progressive-folk group Tornaod. She has over 90 recordings to her credit.