Griffin Vittone | The Long Haul

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The Long Haul

by Griffin Vittone

It's like Springsteen, Dylan and Bob Seger got together, cooked up a stew and called it Griffin Vittone. All natural musical ingredients contributed by real human musicians. True roots rock comfort food for your soul.
Genre: Rock: Classic Rock
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1. All I Had
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3:17 $0.99
2. I Suppose
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3:34 $0.99
3. Olivia
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2:45 $0.99
4. Miss Thrill a Minute
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3:15 $0.99
5. The Fall
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4:07 $0.99
6. Heart of Stone
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7. Firstborn
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3:55 $0.99
8. Wild Fire
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3:43 $0.99
9. Millennium
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10. You Were Right
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Biography and chemistry of "The Long Haul" (as written by Griffin Vittone)

I can't believe it's been almost 9 years since the release of "Turn the Light On". As you can see as far as songwriters go, I'm not exactly a factory of productivity. If I were a dairy cow, I would have been put down years ago. I like to think of it as quality over quantity. Actually, several of these songs began as unfinished "chunks" many years ago. I have many of these song chunks just kinda rattling around in my brain and every so often an invisible finger flicks my right temporal lobe and one of the fragments is somehow chosen for complete songhood.

My writing process almost always begins with a vocal melody sung with mostly incomprehendeble lyrics that usually don't make any sense at all. I sing them over a pattern of guitar chords plunked out on my trusty Ovation Balladeer acoustic guitar. From there I attempt to build a story line while trying to adhere to the same phonetic sounds that I was initially drawn to while the melody was popping into my head in the first place...make sense? Anyway, here is an idea of what was going on in my noggin throughout the process of writing the "The Long Haul".

All songs written by Griffin Vittone except "Wild Fire" (Michael Martin Murphey & Larry Cansler)
All songs recorded, mixed and mastered by Donny Osier at Creation Collective Studios in Ironwood, MI.
All songs produced by Griffin Vittone and Donny Osier

1. "All I Had" ~Peter Grewe (keys), Chris White (drums), Keith Cannon (electric guitar), John Grewe (percussion), Me (vocals, acoustic guitar, bass)

Love the slide guitar and chorus riffs in here played by Keith. Chris had the idea to use hand claps througout the song and Donny one upped him by bringing in foot stomps too. Peter has a great B3 organ solo. I like how the song crescendo's at the outro.

I started to write this song somewhere around 1996 or 97. I had the first verse and a half of the second right out of the gate, but then for whatever reason, I hit a road block and after several failed attempts to finish it over the years, I gave up...without really giving it all I had. Then on one cold winter's night in 2008, I plopped down with my guitar and finished the rest of the song, lyrics and all, in like 5 minutes. Basically, we're looking at a song that took around 11 years to finish, but only 6 minutes to write.

All I Had

I'm sorry I gave you all I had
I'm sorry I gave it all
wish you could give it back
My friends say I don't know man,
the say I got to let it go
I'm sorry I gave you all I had.

I wrote you a letter yesterday
You know the one that you ripped up
and threw away.
I should have seen the writing on the wall
Just never knew your heart could be so small
I wrote you a letter yesterday

Who do you think you are
Why do you want me gone
Love is a long haul
I'm sorry I gave you all I had

2. "I Suppose" ~ Chris White (drums); Matt Clausen (elec. guitar); Peter Grewe (keys); John Grewe (percussion); Me (vocals, acoustic, bass)

Chris delivers a drum part that really compliments the intensity and tension of the song's subject matter. Matt's guitar work tastefully decorates this entire song and pops in just the right places. Love the interplay between Matt and Peter here.

This was an extremely difficult song to write. Not from a writing standpoint, it actually all came together rather quickly, but because it is based on the true story of someone I've known since I was a child. Sadly, her story isn't unique. It's frustrating how certain people continue to make one bad choice after another. I wrote this song as a tribute to the innocent child that lost his life because of his mother's complete lack of judgement. This song also helped to reinforce the notion that writing, at least for me, is almost accidental or unconscious....it's in 3/4 time signature. I never intended this or even noticed it while writing the entire song. It wasn't until drummer Chris White pointed it out to me.

I Suppose

Her mama died when she was just a baby and
she grew up with a chip on her shoulder
A late bloomer, she made up the time
and left town with a bad taste in her mouth

and I suppose she'll learn now

She met a soldier who gave her heroin
She married him and he pushed her around
She would have stayed with him
until he killed her, but he died in a
gunfight with himself

and I suppose she'll learn now

She started dancing to pay for the heroin
She got pregnant and couldn't stop using the drug
A baby boy was born two months early
His lungs weren't formed and
he weighed little more than a pound

and I suppose she'll learn now

Baby, I sing this song for you

The baby died after a good fight
His mama cried as she shot up that night

and I suppose

3. "Olivia" ~ Peter Grewe (keys), Chris White (drums), John Grewe (percussion), Me (vocals, acoustic, bass)

Chris and John have a great rythmic relationship here...makes for a nice driving feel. I like the overall syncopation of this tune.

Wrote this one a couple of years ago while our daughter Sienna was watching the kid's show "Olivia". For those not familiar, Olivia is a litte, pink cartoon pig in a striped shirt (kinda like piglet, but not quite). For whatever reason, I became inspired and knocked this one out almost instantly. Probably the quickest I ever wrote a song. Sienna did make me leave the room however, because she couldn't hear her show....

Olivia

She's Olivia
She's oblivious to me
It's okay

She's Olivia
she's all I see
She's Olivia

She wakes up each and every morning
to half the man that I could be
She finds her life without a warning
is passing her by

Please Olivia
you're oblivion for me,
like cocaine

Please Olivia
you're all I need
yes indeed

Please Olivia
Girl, you split me right in half
I'm beside myself

You wake up each and every morning
to half the man that I could be
You find your life without a warning
is passing you by

She's Olivia
She's oblivious to me

I wake up each and every morning
I'm half the man that I could be
I find my life without a warning
is passing me by

4. "Miss Thrill a Minute" ~ Peter Grewe (keys), Chris White (drums), John Grewe (percussion), Donny Osier (elec. guitar), Me (vocals, acoustic, bass)

Peter's piano action, especially during the solo, reminds me of classic Elton John, back when he was playing good old rock music. This is a total throwback tune...classic rock written all over it, just the way I like it.

This one had it's roots way, way back. I wrote a song called "Losing Time" when I was 19 years old. The tune was on the first professional recording I was ever involved with. It was track #9 on Lickety Split's album "Lucky", recorded and released by Metro Records of Minneapolis in 1994. Over time, I felt the need to re-work the song, as I believed that I didn't give it a fair shake...kinda threw it together with sloppy, poorly thought out lyrics in a rush to get it onto the CD. After several re-writes, I came up with "Miss Thrill a Minute", a song based on a relationship a friend of mine was involved in for an excrutiatingly long time. Although, the chord progression is the same as Losing Time, the song is pretty much completely different. So much so, that I don't think I would win a law suit against myself for copyright infringement.

Miss Thrill a Minute

It's been a long time coming
too many sad songs too much blood lost
I really must be moving on

It's been a long time coming
and I know it's hard, but it's only natural
I can feel it in my bones

It's been a long time coming
Time to pull the needle out of the arm
I really must be moving on

It's been a long time coming
and I swear to God, I wil rise above it all
Because there's nowhere left to fall

What an I supposed to do about you now
Miss thrill a minute left to struggle through somehow
Drag your ass back to those animals
All them crack head assholes I stole you from
What else am I supposed to do
Guess I should have seen through you

It's been a long time coming
Too many sad songs, too much blood lost
I really must be moving on
I should've seen this coming,
cuz now daddy's girl's got a lie to live
and less to give
It's like her heart's been penciled out

5. "The Fall" ~ Bill Hamlin (electric guitar), Peter Grewe (keys), Chris White (drums), John Grewe (percussion), Me (vocals, acoustic, bass)

Bill's got some tasty guitar work going on here, love the bends during the bridge section and outro. This started out as a slow, dirgy tune, until Chris suggested speeding it up. I'm glad he did, it's a nice change of pace on an album already full of slow and mid tempo tracks.

I wrote this song around 2001. It's about the fall of the United States as an economic superpower and world leader thanks to corporate greed, the exportation of jobs to other countries and out of control deficit spending. Sad thing is our situation is worse now, than when this song was first written. The line in the song, "the faces are turning pale" refers to the president's faces on our paper money.

The Fall

Hey are you for real boy
Son, you can really play the game
Won't you stay

It's such a fine institution
and son you really have a name
Won't you stay

I really hate to see you go
Who'll run the show
Hey mama, does he really have to go
Who'll run the show

The stones on the merchant's scale
are very heavy on his side
but you still buy

The faces are turning pale
and I'm afraid that there's nowhere left to hide
We see the light.

It's just the fall
It's justified

For now you'll just go on playing
as you keep living your life
of a trillion lies

And those who were once worth saving
I guess they'll have to wait outside
until the rise

6. "Heart of Stone" ~ Chris White (drums), Matt Clausen (electric guitar), Peter Grewe (keys), Me (vocals, acoustic, bass)

Matt plays some ripping guitar in this one. The outro solo is crazy. Peter gets in on the action as well and the two create some calculated chaos during the fade outro.

I began writing this song in the mid 90's. I was inspired by a pickup truck commercial on T.V. that involved an American Indian singing a chant in the background. The verse melody is a take off of the chant from the commercial. The song was almost released a couple of times, first on Average Sun's self-titled album (a Duluth, MN based band I performed with in the mid 90's) then later on "Turn the Light On". I could just never find a decent arrangement for it...guess I was over-thinking it as the arrangement here is pretty simple and straight forward. Donny says this song reminds him of a messed up fairy tale or something along those lines, because of the "fairest of them all" line in the last chorus and the stone references. it's definitely a dramatic tune...hopefully it doesn't come off too cheesy.

Heart of Stone

Damn you all
I'm helpless
it breaks my soul

Damn you all
I'm so helpless

Inside of the only one I love
lies a heart of stone
And that's the saddest thing I know

Blame you all
for this misprint
for this flaw

Blame you all
so helpless

Inside of the only one I love
lies a heart of stone
And that's the saddest thing I know

I can't crack her heart of stone

Inside of the only one I love
lies a heart of stone
And that's the saddest thing I know

Deep inside of the fairest of them all
lies a heart of stone
Ain't that the saddest thing

7. "First Born" ~ Peter Grewe (keys), Chris White (drums), Me (vocals, bass guitar)

Peter laid down some breathtaking piano and string sections here.

I wrote this song for my beautiful daughter Sienna Marlene Vittone. The tune was written in its entirety, while my wife Amber was pregnant and we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl.

First Born

I'm not scared
I've been repaired
Miles of scars run like vines through me
but now these scars
are flowing streams
pouring love to my new baby

Crawl to me

It's my dream
to show and teach
you every lesson you'll ever need

My promise is
to always give
you all the love that your heart will keep

Call on my
Count on me
My beautiful baby

It's okay
there will come a day
when we won't see things quite the same

And mark my words
Make no mistake
Life will push you down someday

Fall to me
My beautiful baby
Crawl to me

Hush now baby don't cry

And when I die
before you leave
Send me off with a melody

My beautiful baby
Sing to me

8. "Wild Fire" ~ originally written by Michael Martin Murphey & David Cansler
~ Peter Grewe (keys), Chris White (drums), Donny Osier (electric guitar), Tina Grewe (vocals), John Grewe (percussion), Me (vocals, acoustic guitar, bass)

Chris came up with a slick drum part that really takes the song in a unique direction from the original. Tina's angelic voice and Peter's clean piano riffs help to preserve the delicate nature of the song and provide a nice opposite to my fried-out, raspy yelling. Amber says this is what it would sound like if John Fogerty remade the tune...I'm taking it as a compliment (love CCR!)

I perform a lot of re-worked covers in my live shows and I wanted to include one on this record. It was between this one, "Sister Golden Hair" by America, or "Don't Worry Baby" by the Beach Boys. Wildfire was one of my favorite songs as a child. It's a haunting story about a little girl and a horse, so I thought it would be perfect to put it on the album after a song I wrote about my own daughter.

Wild Fire

She comes down from Yellow Mountain
On a dark, flat land she rides
on a pony she named Wildfire
with a whirlwind by her side
On a cold Nebraska night

Well they say she died one winter
when there came a killing frost
and the pony she named Wildfire
busted down his stall
In a blizzard he was lost

She ran calling Wildfire

By the dark of the moon, I planted
but there came an early snow
Been a hoot owl howling out by my window now
for six night in a row
She's coming for me I know
and on Wildfire we're both gonna go

We'll be riding Wildfire
On Wildfire, we're gonna ride
We're gonna leave sod bustin' behind
and drive these hard times
right on out of our minds
riding Wildfire

#9 "Millennium" ~ Matt Clausen (electric guitar), Peter Grewe (keys), Chris White (drums), Me (vocals, acoustic, bass)

Love Peter's retro sythn solo.

This song first appeared on Nod's "Factory" EP in 1999. Chris and I collaborated on a third verse and we gave it a bit of a different presentation and feel here. It seems like every other week a celebrity dies from a drug overdose...some sicko guns down a bunch of innocent people or is caught molesting children...some rich dude schemes a bunch of honest people out of their life savings. It's painful to watch the news or read a newspaper.

Millennium

Trace a picture of an animal
Paint another setting sun
Crawling through a new Millennium
It's hard to credit anyone
It's all been done

Another strung out actor's funeral
Antoher version of the scrooge
Another cannibal, a criminal
Who's turn to think of nothing new
It's all been done

Masking my eyes
a thin disguise

It's all been done

So many eyes have closed
it doesn't matter
Will we even notice
when the world stops
When all that glitters
finally breaks and shatters
Who'll be left to take the loss

Masking my eyes
a thin disguise

#10 "You Were Right" ~ Chris White (drums), Bill Hamlin (electric guitar), Donny Osier (synth), Me (vocals, acoustic, bass)

This one almost didn't make it on the album. Donny rescued it from the scrap pile with some slick production tricks. Actually, Donny saved my butt more than a few times throughout these sessions with his production skills and dilligence.

This song is based loosely on a past relationship. I was in my mid twenties and decided I wanted to try to make a career out of music. My girlfriend wasn't a big fan of the concept and didn't have a lot of confidence in my dreams. Needless to say, we split up. I started out on my chosen career path by performing in lots of seedy, little bars for very little money. Flash forward fifteen years and I'm still playing in seedy little bars for very little money. I guess she was right. Don't worry though, things worked out just fine for me. I'm happily married going on 11 years now and we have a wonderful life together with our seven year old daughter. I'll probably write and record songs for as long as I'm alive. I'm a songwriter and I have no regrets or apologies for this. It gives me great pleasure to share my music with people, whether it's ten or ten million. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening.

You Were Right

Why wouldn't you let me
light up your darkness
Why wouldn't you let me
set a fire in your cold heart
Why wouldn't you let me
know what you were thinking
I guess I'll never know who you are

Why wouldn't you let me
put a smile on your mouth
Why wouldn't you let me
crawl right up under your velvet skin
And why don't you call me
You don't call me
I don't know how you been baby
Why don't you call me
and let me know how you are

It's been a long, long time
and now it's back on my mind

Man, who was that two bit shrink
that told you that I put some kind
of voodoo spell on you
that kept you from leaving
making you stay against your free will
And I guess I should've known
just by your pedigree
that I'd never be good enough for you
Some half ass musician, never make enough money

But that was so long ago
Just thought you might like to know

That you were right

Now I hear you found that rich old husband
and you got a nice little family
I'm glad that things have finally worked out right for you
Me, I'm still writing these songs and knockin' on doors
that keep slamming back in my face
Yeah, I'm still playing the same old dives that I used to

So many years ago
Just thought you would like to know

That you were right


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