At the turn of the decade, even the most mainstream of modern music listeners couldn’t help but take notice to the fast growing new crave for the folk-rock sounds taking the world stage. With genres like Alt-Country, Americana, and New Grass suddenly poking their heads out, it was only inevitable that a kid who grew up with an obsession for folk-rock legends like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, would parallel the scene in his own way. As singer-songwriter Matthew Griswold enters his 30s, he holds a youthful spirit with a well-aged wit. His brand of folk-rock places passion a half step in front of clever while staying in cadence and out kickin’ with the idea that music saved his own life. Whether playing his tasteful choice of cover song interpretations, or any of his own original songs, he always drives the crowds to amazement with his foot stomping grooves and trance like guitar playing. He often describes his music as “Bone shakin’ voodoo grooves!” His profound lyrics pass through a voice that allows a rough and howling quality to cradle his smooth and soulful aesthetic, which has become part of his own unique trademark sound.
Following his debut album release, which made for his regional breakthrough, in 2010, “Screaming From The Witch’s Tower” took Griswold to a modest level of fame. After hundreds full featured print articles and dozens of regional TV appearances and radio interviews, thousands, and maybe millions, suddenly learned who this St. Paul MN native was and what he was doing. This allowed Griswold a chance to discuss the rhyme, reason and substance of his first album. The album was a collection of original work backed with well-crafted songwriting and state of the art production, but it was also one of the first efforts to raise awareness about the challenges of recovery and transition that many recent war veterans are faced with. Griswold was a 5 year active duty US Army veteran and fought in the “Battle of Ramadi” in 2006 which was the most violent campaign of the Iraq war. Griswold struggled with his own transition which began in early 2009. He called on his ability to write songs and make music to keep himself on a road to recovery. From that point on, Griswold became very involved with helping his fellow veterans and he continues to give much of his time back to those he empathizes with most. 2012 marked the year for his sophomore album release “East Suburban Serenade Revival”. The subject matter for those works were far from the ones prior, but still just as personally revealing and socially stimulating. Griswold took on the challenge of drawing from his “haunted past” to give him the inspiration for his follow up album. He wrote about his own adolescent experiences with the insight and rationality of an adult. He will also say that the experiences of his youth are why he started writing songs in the first place.
A number of Griswold’s original songs have received national level attention and placement. His song “Crazy” was used by the PGA Tour a number of times for their Tour Fantasy Update reports. The MN Twins frequently played his song “Unbridled” at Target Field during their opening season at the new stadium. His awareness song “With Healing Hands (Upon your heart)” was used all over the Midwest at Relay For Life events and for their multimedia resources. Griswold has also had songs placed on nationally distributed compilations and he has even performed at events like the American Music Therapy Association’s national convention, the Midwest Regional Relay For Life Leadership Summit, a number of “Black Friday” concerts at the Mall of America, and dozens of nationally recognized events and venues. Griswold now tours around the region and even the country with over 200 shows a year performing at clubs, bars, fairs, festivals, theaters, special events, private parties and anywhere else you could ever think of. There’s no doubt that he is one of the hardest working musicians in today’s independent music scene.
“He is breaking into the music scene with a rough and howling edge” – Vita.MN
“He has earned his stripes as a singer-songwriter” – Minneapolis Star Tribune