You often hear the term “real deal.” The Oxford Dictionary defines this term as “a person or thing considered to be a genuine or supremely good example of their kind.” I can say without any reservation at all that Griffin House is the “Real Deal.” His songs touch people’s hearts because his lyrics are so very authentic and his music intertwines those words into memorable grooves which are impossible to ignore. This Nashville-based musician’s star is ascending. Keep an eye on him. You can’t miss him.
For more information on Griffin House, check out his website.
Here’s a brand new video from the new album.
Since you visited the me&thee last, you’ve released a new album called So On and So Forth. Can you tell us about the making of the CD?
I got out of Nashville to record. I felt pulled to Asbury Park for a lot of reasons. There was something in the air there when I played the Saint in 2015, and I took a tour of Lakehouse recording studios and really liked the owner, Jon Leidersdorff. He helped me assemble a band and I just showed up with the songs and they made some charts and we starting cutting them.
It was kind of cool to travel up to Asbury Park for a couple weeks. I stayed at the studio (they have a little apartment suite there). And we recorded the whole record in a couple weeks. It was a really positive and fun experience. We did almost all of it live. No click tracks, or vocal tuners. Just got in a room and played live and recorded it. Did very minimal overdubs. So, I think that gives the album a unique feel.
Tell us about your connections to the Patti Scialfa / Bruce Springsteen camp in New Jersey.
I opened some shows for Patti when I was just getting started as a touring musician in 2005. I met her and Bruce and a lot of folks in their crew the first night of the tour at the Paramount Theatre. Bruce was there for several of the shows and I got to have several conversations with him that I’ll remember forever. They made me feel so welcome and I have great memories of those shows. A couple years after that, Bruce was playing in Cincinnati one night, and I went to the show with my family and he had us backstage and talked to us for 20 minutes before going on stage. They took our nose bleed section tickets and gave us wristbands for the front row. My experience of Bruce and Patti and their crew is that they’re just wonderful people. They treated me so well.
How would you compare your latest recording with previous ones?
This one is much more of a live feel than my last few albums. I think it definitely has its own unique vibe, and I think it has a cohesiveness because it was all recorded in the same place within a couple weeks. It touches on some different themes that I think are previously unexplored on my other records.
Do you feel as though your songwriting has changed over the years? Do you approach the task of songwriting in a different manner than when you sat down and wrote your first song?
These days, if I can sit down and write at all I feel lucky. Life has become quite busy with being a dad of two little girls, husband, and touring musician. I just try to find a window here and there to write and do what I can. It’s been impossible to find a rhythm and have a routine, which is what I really need ideally to do my best work. But for the time being I just try to sneak away with my guitar and capture something if I get inspired or come up with stuff here and there. I’m part of a song writing group where I’m forced to turn in something every week so that helps keep me on task.
Your bio talks about your “transformative path to success and clean living.” Do you have words of wisdom how to survive in the music business or any kind of high-stress career and how to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself?
I am definitely not a teacher of wisdom. I am trying to be a seeker of wisdom for sure.
I lived my life for many years in a way that was pretty unwise with regards to unclean living.
I can tell you that I seek balance in my life by not over working, eating well, spending lots of time with my family, trying to take care of myself through exercising and yoga, having somewhat of spiritual life through some prayer, and having a good community of friends to be involved in, and not putting mind and mood altering chemicals in my body. If you don’t count sugar, caffeine and occasional nicotine (not cigarettes) 🙂 Basically I cut out drugs and alcohol years ago, and it takes a lot of work on my inner self to keep that commitment up.
You were asked to play your song “Paris Calling” (which is a beautiful song, by the way) on CNN after the horrendous attack in Paris last November. What’s your connection to Paris? Did you receive a lot of attention due to that song?
I worked at Shakespeare and Co in Paris when I was in college studying abroad in Luxembourg. I fell in love with the city then and really had a life changing experience there. A truly magical moment in my life. It took me 14 years to return — which I did this summer just after recording “Paris Calling” in Asbury Park. I sat on the fountains in the Place des Vosges and listened to my album this summer and walked around the streets of Paris listening to the record for the first time. When the attacks happened it was just coincidence that I’d just recorded this love song to Paris so we put it out early hoping to raise some money for charity and put some light into the world with the song.
The CNN piece was just a beautiful work of art that they put together and such an honor.
It was kind of surreal watching it, but it’s another great memory that I can just smile and be grateful for.
Do you have any career aspirations that have not been realized yet? If so, what are they?
I would like to just be at peace with myself, and be really thankful for all the great things I’ve already been able to do. I’ve had a lot of dreams come true. It’d be great to just get to keep going for a while.