The Unique Sound of Griffen Alexander
Bruce Von Stiers
Griffen Alexander has a unique singing voice. In a way it's almost like he's singing with a burnt tongue or a lisp or something. You know the thick sound your voice has with an impeded tongue. But once you listen to Griffen singing a bit, you get used to it. In fact, it's kind of grows on you.
Griffen is based in Kansas City , about an hour away from where I live. I hadn't heard of him before now, but that's not that unusual. Kansas City has a huge talent pool whose members rarely get the recognition they deserve.
Back in 2006 Griffen had a deal with a record label and cut his debut album, Never In Neutral. But soon after the album's release, Griffen decided to go a different direction with his music.
Writing and performing, Griffen began gathering funds from fans around the world to record a new album. This year finds Griffen having gotten enough money to record and release this new album. The album is titled The Sound & The Sea.
The album was recorded over several days at a farm studio, Five Acres Studio, in Vancouver , British Columbia . It was produced by Griffen and Ryan McAllister.
Griffen did the vocals, played guitar and keys on the album. He also wrote all of the songs on the album. Ryan McAllister provided additional vocals and guitar music as well. Jeremy Friesen was on bass guitar and Jay Stewart played the drums and did the percussion. Kelley Young lent her talents on backing vocals for one song.
What I found interesting about this album, besides Griffen's voice, is the packaging. It was hand made, with a multi-fold paper CD holder and cover. Included in the packaging is a paper sheet with the song lyrics on one side and the album credits on the other. There is also a promo card with Griffen's picture. And a business card that gives a code for a special treat at Griffen's BandCamp site. The promo card also tells about how a portion of the album's proceeds will go towards providing clean water for our global neighbors.
Mississippi Water is the first song. It is a light pop rock song with toe tapping music and fluid vocals.
Back To Good is a toe tapping song that has heartening lyrics. He wants to be with her but she needs to get her life back together first. It is a nice mellow song that actually is kind of sad in a way.
Nervous Hands is a love lost ballad. Soft and gentle, it still has an aching heartache tone to it. I can actually relate to the lyrics. A lifetime ago, I had kind of the same heartache that Griffen sings about in the song.
Then the next song tackles faith, the loss of it and losing your identity and self worth. The song is called When I Start Giving In and has a mellow tone with nice guitar backing Griffen's vocals.
She's leaving the relationship and he's hurting but still in love with her in the song I Will. It is a great, mellow tune that will tug at your heartstrings.
Hold My Hand has a light touch with Griffen singing about getting through a dark time in life with someone helping you out.
I had to smile while listening to Feels So Right. He's telling her that they are a perfect fit. She's the reason he sings “all these silly things” and she's the missing puzzle piece in his life.
Sliding into a rock blues mode, Griffen gets down with the song If You Want Me. Not only are the vocals good, the blues guitar groove is smoking. Even though the song is a bit different from the general tone of the album, it is my favorite.
By Your Side kind of reminded me of John Mayer, an artist that Griffen is often compared to.
Riley has that kind of bluesy rock groove that can be found in songs by Elvin Bishop.
Griffen ends the album with a slow and aching guitar laden tune called Science & Religion. It is a love song with sad and tender feelings bared to the bone.
Griffen Alexander does have a unique voice. I don't know if in the long haul that will help or hurt his career. For me, I actually think it brings a whole different texture to the field of indie pop rock genre. And I really liked the songs on the album, especially Nervous Hands, Feels So Right and If Your Want Me.
Even though Griffen is offering up the album for digital download, the better method would be an actual physical copy of it. I say that because of the special handmade packaging that Griffen had the album released in.
To learn more about this unique indie pop rock artist, visit http://griffenalexander.com/ You can hear tracks from the album on the site and even order a copy of it too.
© 2011 Bruce E Von Stiers