Springfield Arts Festival, Springfield, OH
8pm show, https://www.springfieldartscouncil.org/
Griffin House has come a long way from his early days in Nashville, selling t-shirts and postcards at a souvenir shop on the city’s famed neon-clad Lower Broadway, and his new album reflects on every step of his journey from then to now. Now 16 years into his life in Nashville, House will release his 12th album, Rising Star, on June 28th. House also stars in the full-length documentary film Rising Star, set for release this year; co-produced with music video director and filmmaker Shane Drake, the film chronicles House’s life as a musician and features music from his new album as well as his previous catalog.
With the help of old friends Paul Moak and Ian Fitchuk, Rising Star exploded into life at Moak’s legendary recording studio, The Smoakstack. “It was so good to reunite with them and work together again,” House says about Moak and Fitchuk, who helped House make his very first record all those years ago. “It’s amazing to watch these guys I started out with in the very beginning who are now world-class musicians and producers winning Grammys. This album seemed to come together with a little more grace and ease than records I’ve made in the past, and I think so much of that is attributed to how good the people I got worth with on this record are, they all just happen to be really good friends too.” House also drew from his tight circle of friends to complete a few of the songs from Rising Star as well. Fellow Nashville musicians Brian Elmquist (The Lone Bellow), Joy Williams, and longtime collaborator Jeff Trott (Sheryl Crow) all co-wrote songs for the album, the first two lending their voices to the recordings.
Rising Star opens with its title track, a tune written with House’s old touring buddy, Faroe Islands singer/songwriter Teitur. A finger-strummed acoustic guitar number that was jokingly intended to be the “quintessential Nashville country song” quickly turned into the title track of his new record. “We thought of as many country cliches 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,” says House of their songwriting process. “At first it was just a song that made us laugh, but as time went on, I liked ‘Rising Star’ so much I decided to put it on my new record.” Although not intended to be autobiographical, the listener gets the sense that this comical and fictitious tale could hardly have been woven by someone without similar life experience to the protagonist in Rising Star.
The albums penultimate song is a peaceful study of something that every human should be familiar with; change. A reassuring refrain of “We were never meant to stay the same” is sung as a duet with co-writer Joy Williams. “We worked on the words for an hour or two, and then out of nowhere, she sang this beautiful chorus,” remembers House. “We broke for lunch and came back and finished it that afternoon. It was one of those songs that took years to live and only one short day to write.” Between these songs, listeners are treated to a light-hearted, joyously collaborative album that shows off Griffin House’s truth and humility in his songwriting as good as ever before. Rising Star is available everywhere on June 28th.
For more information, please visit https://griffinhousemusic.com/.