Monday evening at Music Box Supper Club was very special to this writer as Nashville songwriter Griffin House returned to Ohio to entertain the Cleveland faithful. A story I wrote about Griffin back in 2008 took me behind the music and the life of this Springfield, Ohio native. The passion and determination in his songs filled with personal, richly detailed snapshots of his life has fostered a connection with this artist since Flying Upside Down received my “Best Album of 2008” award. Each time you leave one of his shows, you get another piece of the man who sets up his songs spinning stories like hitting the sweet spot on a golf ball with your driver. It really doesn’t matter how many times you’ve heard the story about the mustache in the back pocket because not only do you still laugh, but some folks in the audience are hearing it for the first time. Any aspiring songwriter who wants to learn how to hold the audience in their hand can take notes from Griffin House’s performance. My wife, who gets dragged along to many shows, always mentions how Griffin does this so well every single time we see him perform.
Some of you may have seen Griffin on CNN recently being interviewed for a song he composed called “Paris Calling (Sweet Sensation)”. The song will be on his forthcoming album So On And So Forth due out on March 4th and was released early due to the tragedies in that city last month. House had spent the summer there and listened to the final mix of his new record on his ear buds walking through the streets of Paris.
House delved deep into his catalog for this particular night playing a mix of old stand-by classics, a few deep tracks, and a couple that will be on the new album including the opening song “Wrecking Ball”. Standing alone playing either an acoustic guitar or his electric 1967 Chet Adkins Gretsch, House played a very soft acoustic version of “Real Love Can’t Pretend”, the crowd participating single “Let Me In”, the electric ballad of “Better Than Love”, and chestnuts “Waterfall” and “Liberty Line”. A song from his Live From Prison Ep titled “Never Again” was dedicated to his friend Jordan Lawhead. Lawhead, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma in 2008, helped create YOUINSPIRE the not-for-profit organization that features videos of survivors, and those currently facing, serious medical challenges who wish to share their stories of hope, support and encouragement. Although the new record is dedicated to his Grandpa Jack, House has written a few for his Grandpa George including “I Remember (It’s Happening Again)” that are emotional storytellers performed live. Since I can’t give away too much about the show, the rest of the set included “Judas”, “Go Through It”, “Volkswagen”, “Colleen”, “The Way I Was Made”, and the gorgeous “The Guy That Says Goodbye To You Is Out Of His Mind”. For the encore, Griffin returned to sing “Dance With Me”, “Waiting For The Rain To Come”, and closed the night with the beautiful “River City Lights”. To hear the whole story behind all these songs, you’ll just have to attend one of his performances.
San Diego based singer/songwriter Lee Coulter opened the show and performed a very nice seven song set including the song "I'm In Love" which received some airplay on the SXM Coffee House channel.