11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Griffin House

Griffin HouseSinger-songwriter Griffin House is a Nashville mainstay who over the years has become a highly-respected nationally-known recording artist. He did this the good old-fashioned way by touring the country as an opener for some bigger names and creating a strong catalog of original songs.  

House releases “Rising Star,” his 12th LP on June 28. This new record reunites House with Paul Moak and Ian Fitchuk who worked with him on his very first one. “Rising Star” was recorded locally at Moak’s Berry Hill studio, The Smoakstack. “Natural Man,” from the LP was released earlier this year and can be previewed here. To mark the occasion there will also be a full-length documentary film of the same name released later this year. The film chronicles House’s life as a musician and features his music both old and new.

The title track for “Rising Star” was written with House’s old touring buddy and my favorite Faroe Islands singer-songwriter, Teitur. Says Griffin about the song, “We thought of as many country clichés as we could, and we started to tell the story of a ‘rising star’ who moves to Music City with a guitar and a dream, like so many do.” Another guest on the new record is Nashville’s Joy Williams who co-wrote and sings “Crash and Burn” with Griffin.

Thanks Griffin for being my latest “11.” As we await the record and film, Griffin will be touring across America with hopefully a local Nashville date in short order.

 

Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I’m originally from Springfield, OH. I moved to Nashville in February 2003 to see if I could get something going with music. I had a production deal in Philly that didn’t pan out and a couple buddies from college were living in Nashville and invited me down. One of them had a job with CAA, who eventually signed me. I met Ian Fitchuk and Justin Loucks in an Episcopal church service of all places, and they offered to record me. We made a demo called Never Sessions that got the attention of Island Def Jam and DreamWorks Records. I’ve been doing music full time ever since.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

The first record I bought was Run-DMC’s Raising Hell when I was six. It was a cassette. I bought it at Camelot Music in the Upper Valley Mall in Springfield. The last records I bought were the Moana and Frozen soundtracks for my daughter on vinyl at Grimey’s in Nashville.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen? 

The first live concert was Live at the Polaris Amphitheater in Columbus, and they were badass. I think I was 14, my parents dropped me off and waited in the parking lot. Then I went to see Pavement and U2 when I could drive. The last two shows I went to were Roger Waters at Bridgestone Arena and Jeff Tweedy at TPAC.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

Kathy Mattea and Garth Brooks

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

For pizza, I like to take the kids to DeSano off Music Row, they have great stuff. For coffee, I like to keep it old school, I go to Bongo. I like it because I’ve gone there ever since I moved to Nashville, and I have written some good songs there. And they also charge a reasonable amount for coffee unlike some of these ridiculous places popping up all over town, trying to charge kids five bucks for a “pour over,” I could not have afforded that as a starving artist kid who moved to town. I think coffee was a dollar or dollar twenty-five, and I’d sit there for hours and read and write.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

I’m not sure I could pick a favorite record to ever come out of Nashville since there’s just too many. It would be hard to narrow it down to even 20, but Neil Young’s Harvest and Roy Orbison do come to mind. I don’t know, can I just go with Rising Star by Griffin House? It’s at least my best record to come out of Nashville. It’ll be out June 28! 🙂

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?  

My kitchen!

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

Todd Snider, Mary Gauthier and Jack White.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

Bluebird is a great gig, I just drive down the street and show up a few minutes before and play. I have also started a bit of a tradition at City Winery every Thanksgiving weekend, I love playing there.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

Eddie Vedder

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

We made a music documentary, full-length feature film also called Rising Star, and it will be out in 2019 along with my new record. Very excited for folks to see it. Lots of touring as always, and good vibes for 2019.

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