Jared Dustin Griffin – Battle Cry Mercy
As many artists are inspired by Americana, blues & country music it’s the interpretation of those genres that draws out the artistry of a single singer-songwriter. Jared paid his dues by spending his youth sleeping on sofas & working odd jobs so he could sustain his love for songwriting & picking up performance experience by working in several bands & supporting some major names along the way.
The 10 songs carved out of Jared’s intense solo debut Battle Cry Mercy (Drops Nov 17–P&C Need To Know Music/32:00) came from challenging topics, such as personal struggles, sacrifices & redemption. For his songs, Jared drew upon varied conditions which include homelessness, addiction, a broken heart, loneliness, resentment & anxiety.
Is the album a downer? Not really, Mr. Griffin (vocals/acoustic guitar/harmonica) tries through this musical genre to bring these struggles to the attention of listeners, listeners who may need to better understand these situations & those who will indeed relate to the circumstances he focuses on. So, the music isn’t wound tightly around good times, pop music mentality & basic commercialism. There’s more of a layout of stories, lessons & learning to cope.
If Captain Beefheart sang more seriously in a genre similar to Jared’s this is what it might sound like. Gritty, raw & sincere in the smokey accentuations without sounding too country. There are even pinches of lovely Celtic-type balladry. The harmonica on “My Name Is Cannonball,” is a nice contrast with Jared’s steel wool voice.
The songs are all well-recorded statements. Nothing is silly, novelty, or filler. “Bleed You Away,” is a rootsy spiritual. Comes as a nice surprise since it’s not preachy yet – powerful. I think if he lived, even Elvis would’ve covered this. I like Tom Waits, Chuck E, Weiss, Bob Dylan, Buddy Miller & Jon Dee Graham so I already have a place on my shelf for Jared’s work.
The CD was produced by Brian Brinkerhoff & Frank Swart (bass) with all songs written by Mr. Griffin. Bravo.
Highlights – “My Name Is Cannonball,” “Bleed You Away,” “Sweet Ol’ Loneliness,” “Howlin,’” “Black & Gold,” “Outpost Blues” & “Landmines.”
Musicians – Sebastian Steinberg (upright bass), Larry Eagle, Greg Morrow & Scott Amendola (drums/percussion), Audley Freed (electric & acoustic guitars), Stefano Intelisano (Hammond B3 organ/accordion), Jenn Gunderman & John Deaderick (pianos/organs), Russ Pahl (pedal steel), Eamon McLoughlin & Ross Holmes (fiddles/mandolins), Van Plating (fiddle), Mai Bloomfield (cello), Joe Newberry (banjo), Alice Spence, Kelley Mickwee, Heather Little, Jabe Beyer & Roscoe Wilson (backing vocals).
Color image courtesy of Jared’s website. CD @ https://jareddustingriffin.com/home
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Song Premiere: Jared Dustin Griffin “Sweet Ol’ Loneliness”