October 11 2016
“Hey Griffin, it’s Michelle Wheeler with CLTure.org out of Charlotte, North Carolina, how’s it going?”
“Great, I’m driving down the interstate in Idaho, but it should be fine to talk now.”
Should be fine.
House’s current tour in support of his latest release So On and So Forth kicked off with an appearance earlier this month at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival in San Francisco and has wound through Colorado, Utah and Idaho so far.
“Right after the show is my favorite part,” House laughs. “It requires a tremendous amount of energy to get on stage by yourself. You’re anxious and nervous because you know what it’s going to take to accomplish what you want. By the time I get up there, it’s really fun…you get a little bit of a natural high after.”
I ask if recording gives him that same rush. “Recording used to be really nerve-wracking,” he says. The pressure of making something that would last forever took some of the fun out of the process. “I’ve settled down over the years, though, and recording is more relaxing. I try to let go more.”
House has been a headliner for a decade now, taking his signature brand of acoustic guitar-driven Americana music all over the country, earning critical acclaim and a devoted fan base along the way. “The travel can get tedious,” House affirms, and the road noise in the background and our mediocre cell reception underscore his observation. “It’s hard on the back, and [I have to] be away from home…[but then] I get to feel like I’ve accomplished something” once the tour is done.
The Queen City has long been a regular stop for musicians like Griffin House. By his own estimate, he himself has played Charlotte “15 to 20 times” over the last 10 years, mostly at The Evening Muse, but once before at the Stage Door Theater where he’ll be again Friday, October 14. Asked if he has any particular memories of the city, he recalls, “there’s a really good French bakery there, near the Evening Muse.” I ask if he means Amelie’s and hear the genuine excitement in his answer. “Yeah! People hang out there really late. I’m sure I’ll go through there again and get some sugar.”
House says he likes to be aware of what’s going on in a city before he gets there and he’s been following the recent protests in Charlotte. Just as he’s about to get into a story about playing St Louis a few years ago when the Ferguson protests were happening, a loud alarm sounds from inside his car and he exclaims, “Oh no! I can’t believe I did that!”
Apparently, his left foot bumped the trunk latch on the floorboard and he’s now driving down the interstate at 80 mph with his trunk hanging open. “At least my guitar’s not back there, so that’s lucky!”
“Do you need a minute? Do you want to pull over and call me back?” I ask, making a mental note to find out if I can be held liable in some way if this all goes south. “There aren’t any exits!” he answers. By this time, we’ve both dissolved into laughter at the whole situation.
“I didn’t even know that could happen!” I say.
“I feel like Clark Griswald!” he replies, providing me with the perfect visual.
He finally finds a place to safely pull over and secure the trunk, and all is well. We chat for a few more minutes about the inspiration he gets from his family, even naming So On and So Forth after one of his grandpa Jack’s favorite storytelling phrases. “I had written several songs about my Grandpa George and started feeling guilty about Grandpa Jack not being included.”
House says fans can expect to hear some songs off the new record as well as some old favorites and plenty of stories that would make Poppy proud on this tour.
“Is there anything else you’d like to say to folks who might be coming out to the Stage Door next week?” I ask, signing off.
“Yeah, I’d like them all to petition Toyota to change their design so you don’t accidentally open the trunk going 80 mph down the highway!”
Griffin House plays the Stage Door Theater (130 N Tryon Street) this Friday, October 14, at 8:00 PM.
Customer service information for Toyota can be found through a quick Google search.
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