Griffin House in Concert (Korby Lenker opens)
It is a true, and nowadays rare, musician who writes lyrics so vulnerable and authentic that an audience is irrevocably captured by the powerful experience of sharing the journey. An album that is essentially an autobiographical account of personal mistakes, change, and growth, offers listeners a chance to reflect on their own experiences and connect with anothers story.
With Griffin Houses upcoming album, So On and So Forth, it is clear the artist digs deep and offers up his narrative after much reflection. House is now a young family man and artist who is choosing sobriety and celebrating the path to his success, through songs which share his perspective on how people remember the past with rose-colored glasses, how we grow up and realize what we deeply need, and how we must find happiness in ourselves in the present.
The record has a lot to do with recognizing the ego in ones self and letting it die. It can feel like your whole identity is being wiped away, and you dont even know who you are anymore. For the person singing these songs, holding on to ones own individuality in order to remain special or important in the world has started to became far less important than being content with being a good, decent, and loving person. But old habits die hard, adds House.
The project was tracked last summer at Lakehouse Recording Studios, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Houses ties to Asbury Park go all the back to 2004, when he was invited to tour with Patti Scialfa. His first show in the boardwalk town was opening a show for Scialfa at the Paramount Theatre. It was there that Griffin met her husband, Bruce Springsteen, and all the wonderful characters in their crew and band. Those memories and experiences made returning to Asbury Park over a decade later to record So On and So Forth feel like a full circle moment in his career.
House recorded the essentially live project with no click track and very little overdubbing. Lakehouse owner, Jon Leidersdorff, helped assemble the band. Prior to walking into the studio, House had never met the musicians and had no idea how the songs would turn out. He adds, The experience ended up being one of the most fun and positive of my career. The process was stress-free and freeing. The resulting album reflects this journey a leap of faith with triumphant results.
Recording and performing for over a decade, House has toured with Ron Sexsmith, Patti Scialfa, Josh Ritter, John Mellencamp, Mat Kearney, and The Cranberries. He received early critical acclaim on the CBS Sunday Morning, and his songs have since been featured in countless films and television shows such as One Tree Hill, Army Wives, and Brothers and Sisters. He has also appeared on Late Night with Craig Ferguson. Most recently, CNN Newsroom invited House to perform Paris Calling, from So On and So Forth, live on the air, and the song has been picked up by radio prior to being serviced. House has released ten albums and continues to headline his own national tours. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Jane and their two daughters.
It was created on the edge of the Snake River Canyon, in a cabin north of Sun Valley Idaho, in his fathers mortuary, and in a dozen other places. For music as unique and personal as Korbys, it only made sense that the actual creation of THOUSAND SPRINGS be part of the story.
Says Lenker: I grew up in Idaho. My first band, Clockwork Orange, practiced in a basement in Twin Falls. I learned how to play guitar by listening to records and learning the licks, one note at a time. The way I play and think about music now has a lot to do with growing up there, feeling isolated from the outside world. There werent a lot of people around me making music. I had to go out and find it.
Korby's deliberate approach to music is the mainstay of career now tipping into its third decade. Along the way there have been numerous songwriting awards (including first place wins at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriters Showcase) and festival appearances, (Sasquatch, Bumbershoot). Lenker has also shared the stage with such luminaries as Willie Nelson, Ray Lamontagne, Nickel Creek, Chris Isaak, to name a few.
It was in the publication of MEDIUM HERO, Lenkers first collection of short stories (Turner Publishing December 2015) that he found his true voice, as well as his vision for THOUSAND SPRINGS.
For me, says Lenker, "the two most important qualities of good art are originality and meaning. By original, I mean youve got to tell your own story and no one elsesone thing that was good for me when I moved to Nashville was that it forced me to really dig in and figure out what I did that was different than what everyone else was doing. In Nashville, everyone can write a song and everyone can sing. But there is actually very little in the way of true originality. I spent my first three years in town parking cars at a hotel and taking a bunch of chances, creatively speaking. No one really cared about me, which turned out to be very freeing. Those first years were when I wrote most of the stories that became Medium Hero. I started writing songs that tended toward personal meaning over commercial appeal, and along the way I discovered there was an audience for this approach to telling my story. That was the best discovery of all. There are people out there who will let me be myself!"
Deciding that Story is Everything, Korby hatched an ambitious plan for his 7th album. After raising $20K in a crowdfunding campaign, he purchased some recording gear and a high-end battery typically used in climbing expeditions, and drove out to Idaho to see what would happen. He recorded the heart of each song the guitar and vocal in different places important to him personally. He recorded during the day and slept in a tent at night. He blogged about it.
After recording the basic tracks, he spent the next several months driving around the country, recording his friends where they lived in backyards and hotel rooms - in Seattle, Portland, LA, Austin, Madison, Boston and more. Thousand Springs was recorded in 7 states and features almost 30 different artists from the young folk scene, including Nora Jane Struthers, Critter Eldridge, Anthony Da Costa, Amy Speace, Molly Tuttle, Carrie Elkin, Kai Welch, Beck Warren and many more.
Finally, in full-circle flourish, Lenker brought the album back to the present, finishing up the recordings at his home in East Nashville.
me and thee coffeehouse (View)
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Marblehead, MA 01945
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