An Interview With Jeff Griffith
Releases 'If It Ain't One Thing It's Another' on Arrowhead Records
You can hear a taste of Jones; a nod to Gosdin, and a touch of Hank Jr's swagger in the singing of Jeff Griffith. His whiskey-soaked voice takes us back a step in time to the "glory days" of country music, when soul-baring emotions, traditional melodies and pared-down tracks allowed a singer to shine. Jeff's songs speak to the "everyman," and breathe life back into pure country music.
His debut CD,If It Ain't One Thing It's Another (Arrowhead Records), proves that traditional country music is still a compelling genre, and Jeff plumbs its depths throughout the disc's 11 tracks. From the opening notes of "It Ain't The Clothes That Make The Man (It's The Woman)," he commands the listener's attention with a deft touch and a natural flair. Griffith moves from two-steps to shuffles to ballads with ease, and there are no production "tricks" in his music - what you hear is a great singer, singing strong country songs, played by some of Nashville's most-respected musicians.
The album, produced by country legend Joe Stampley, has already generated three singles that posted hot-shot numbers on both the Music Row and Texas Music charts. His first release, "Drinkin' Thing" (written by Wayne Carson and previously a hit for the late Gary Stewart), is in itself worth the price of the CD; the title track (written by Joe Stampley, Tony Stampley, Bobby Carmichael) is a light-hearted romp, and the album's third single, "I'm Your Radio" (written by Tom Botkin, Kevin Denny, Billy Craven) has quickly brought more attention - and more fans into the Griffith fold. Jeff Griffith's new single "Holed Up In Some Honky Tonk recently hit radio programmers' desks. This single shows why he's made CMA's "Who New to Watch in 2008 List!
"Holed Up In Some Honky Tonk" is the fourth single from Griffith's Arrowhead Records' debut CD, If It Ain't One Thing It's Another, which is available at Best Buy, Hastings and your favorite e-tailers. Produced by Joe Stampley, the album is perfectly paced. It's a fresh, clean sound that takes Griffith from the heartbreak of his favorite ballad to the more rollickin' "Holed Up In Some Honky Tonk" (Dean Dillon, Frank Dycus, Blake Mevis) without breaking stride. He admits that his live shows can get "a little crazy," and he brings that "live" energy - and sense of humor - to "Fishin' Forever," another album highlight.
Born in the small town of Santa Fe, Texas and raised on a dairy farm, Jeff's parents bought him his first guitar when he was just seven. His first public performance came when he was just a scrawny eighth-grader. But reality came crashing in when his father suffered a debilitating stroke when Jeff was just 17. After his father had a stroke he couldn't work. Jeff has just married his childhood sweetheart, Donna, and had quit school to take over the business to support his folks. Shortly thereafter, the first of Jeff's three children were born. Griffith made a promise to himself then; that he'd quit performing professionally and focus on being a family man. That he'd get his kids through high school - and then he would pursue making music again. Jeff's youngest child was just three months shy of her graduation when his good friend (and manager), Charlie Patterson, stepped in. Jeff had been playing the club circuit around San Antonio, basically gigging every chance he got. Charlie called his good friend Joe Stampley and the rest is history! Stampley was impressed with Jeff Griffith's ability. They made an album after listening to hundreds of songs, and finding more treasures by songwriters like Whitey Shafer, Doodle Owens, and Joe and Tony Stampley.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Hi Jeff. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. So what are you currently up to?
Jeff Griffith We just released my new single "Holed Up In Some Honky Tonk" to radio programmers in January and the feedback has been terrific. Even Nancy Jones (Georges' wife) gave us a big thumbs up. Country Weekly just let me know that I'm their "Who's New" artist in the March 24th issue. And I am tickled that the CMA has named me one of their "Who New To Watch in 2008."
[Cindy Beth Gordon] That's terrific. We wish you good luck with that!
Jeff Griffith Thanks Cindy.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] So what are three of your favorite songs on your CD "If It Ain't One Thing It's Another" and why are they your favorites?
Jeff Griffith I would have to say one of them would have to be "Drinkin' Thing" because it's always been one of my favorite songs. "Holed Up In Some Honky Tonk" would be another favorite because it sounds like what true honky tonk music should sound like. The fans LOVE this tune. It really gets 'em out on the dance floor and havin' a good time. My next favorite is "She Reminds Me Of You" because everybody can some how relate to it......it's from the heart!
[Cindy Beth Gordon] What was it like working with Producer Joe Stampley?
Jeff Griffith Unbelievable! Joe is Great. He is the best!
[Cindy Beth Gordon] How did you get hooked up with him?
Jeff Griffith I had been playing the club circuit around San Antonio, basically gigging every chance I got. My good friend and manager Charlie Patterson had asked his friend Joe Stampley what I should do next, Joe said he needed to hear me sing before he could give us any advice. Now I live on a ranch in Spring Branch, Texas and I've only been out of the state twice in my life. I work hard all week, and play shows every weekend. I'm just a regular guy who hunts and fishes, but here I was, going off to Nashville to audition for a country legend. Next thing you know, I'm in this man's living room - just me and an acoustic guitar. Gosh, I was nervous. Joe Stampley stopped me halfway through a rendition of Craig Morgan's "Almost Home," saying he'd heard all he needed to hear. I thought I had blown the audition, but Stampley picked up the phone, called Patterson and said, "We've got to make an album on this guy."
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Where did you record the CD?
Jeff Griffith At Omni Studios in Nashville, TN
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Are you going to be touring at all?
Jeff Griffith In the past year I've worked shows with Sammy Kershaw, Moe Bandy, Gene Watson, Heartland and Joe Stampley. This year, I have show coming up with David Ball. Also, Joe Stampley and I are going to do 7 or 8 tour dates together this year. Our very first show together was in Bandera, TX last November. It was wild to see 1500 folks crowd that dance floor all night. They dug seeing us perform all those Moe & Joe songs. Besides that, I perform regularly each month in Texas.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Where can people get a copy of your CD and more information on you?
Jeff Griffith You can purchase my CD at Best Buy and Hastings Music. ONLINE go to www.Jeffgriffith.net or www.Myspace.com/jeffgriffith .
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Are you open to accepting songs from outside writers?
Jeff Griffith Absolutely. In fact, I've already started listening and working on some new songs for my next album.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] That's great. So what are your goals within the music biz?
Jeff Griffith To help bring back the Traditional Country music sound!
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Any hobbies aside from music?
Jeff Griffith Yes, hunting and Fishing.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] What do you like to sing about?
Jeff Griffith Real Life. I'm just a down-to-earth, hard-working kind of guy who loves traditional country music. I play the banjo and the mandolin on stage at a time when most entertainers don't even use fiddles or steel guitar. I use 'em all, and I play music that folks can dance to, too, so we had to look long and hard for songs that suited my style. It's a style that is unique: born of tradition, honed by years of longing, and given fresh life by a man with a passion. God gave me my talent, and I'm thankful for it. Now it's up to me to make something of it.
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Anything else you wanted to mention that we didn't cover today?
Jeff Griffith I'd like to thank all the country DJS and fans -they have been so supportive at radio and coming out to see my shows. And yes, remember keep it Country!
[Cindy Beth Gordon] Thanks Jeff. I really enjoyed your CD!
Jeff Griffith Thanks Cindy.
Learn more about Jeff at: www.MySpace.com/jeffgriffith and www.jeffgriffith.net .
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