|Texan Jeff Griffith’s debut album, IF IT AIN'T ONE THING IT'S ANOTHER, was released in October of 2007, and its success has launched Griffith on to stages ranging from world-famous honky tonks (Fort Worth's Stagecoach Ballroom and Pearl's Dancehall, 11th Street Cowboy Bar of Bandera, Texas) to the prestigious CMA Music Festival (2008) in Nashville, Tennessee and the world-renowned Country Rendez-Vous Festival in Craponne-sur-Azon, France (2009). Appearances on powerhouse airways like Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, WSM Radio, Y100 Radio and television’s GAC TV's Master Series With Bill Cody, Inside Music Row and Crossroads Live TV have made Jeff seem like an "overnight success" instead of a "country newcomer."
Griffith's instantly-identifiable voice is a proven winner, and it's ringing true with traditional country music lovers in the U.S. and abroad. The debut CD gave Jeff a steady stream of hits that included Drinkin’ Thing; Fishin’ Forever; Holed Up In Some Honky Tonk ; If It Ain’t One Thing It’s Another ; I’m Your Radio and She Reminds Me Of You. From his first single to his most-recent hit, Jeff's distinctive baritone has won him fans, inspired line dances and become a familiar presence at country radio stations worldwide.
For Griffith, a "small town kid" from Santa Fe, Texas, the success is humbling. "Sometimes I just can’t believe this is all real," he says. "It’s been a whirlwind." And, performing regularly for live audiences has proven to be an eye-opening good time. "Folks really do want to hear traditional country music," he comments. "And that’s just what I give ‘em."
Jeff jump-started the second phase of his career earlier this year when he picked up the pen and started writing songs. This new passion is already bringing him success, and his current single, "Dip Me In Beer," is the first of his compositions to be recorded. Written with Hobson Smith and produced by Bill Green, the song is the first release from Jeff's upcoming CD. "We actually heard a guy say that phrase in a club one night," Jeff says with his trademark grin. "And we knew we had a great ‘hook.’" The song has "hooked" everyone -from programmers to fans - and it’s shaping up to be one of Griffith’s biggest records yet.
Raised on a dairy farm, Jeff got his first guitar at the age of seven. His first public performance was as a scrawny eighth-grader, and he recalls that night fondly. "I was nervous, don’t get me wrong. But when that curtain went up, and we started playing ‘Johnny B. Good,’ I knew that performing was what I wanted to do."
By the age of 14, Griffith was playing lead guitar in a cover band and working the honky tonks around Houston on weekends. "I was so young," he says. "I had to have a chaperone!" It was fun while it lasted, but reality came crashing in when his father suffered a debilitating stroke when Jeff was just 17. "He had a concrete business," Griffith says of his father.
"And after the stroke he couldn’t work. I’d just married my childhood sweetheart, Donna, so I quit school to take over the business to support my folks." Shortly thereafter, the first of Jeff’s three children were born. "I made myself a promise then," says Griffith. "I’d quit performing professionally and focus on being a family man. I’d get my kids through high school - and then I’d pursue making music again."
Jeff’s youngest child was just three months shy of her graduation when his good friend (and manager), Charlie Patterson, stepped in. "I’d been playing the club circuit around San Antonio, basically gigging every chance I got," Jeff says. "Charlie thought I was ready for bigger and better things."
Patterson arranged for Jeff to meet his longtime friend, country legend Joe Stampley. Stampley was so impressed that he told Charlie it was time to take Jeff in to the studio. They recorded IF IT AIN’T ONE THING IT’S ANOTHER, and the rest, as they say, is history.
"I've been gigging all over (Texas, Louisiana, Minnesota and beyond)," Griffith says from his home in Spring Branch, Texas. "I never thought I'd get this far with my music, so there's no tellin' where this road will lead. I'm busy writing more songs for the new album, and can't wait to hear what folks think."
With a whiskey-soaked voice that speaks to the "everyman," Griffith's soul-baring traditional sound should take him as far as he wants to go.
Country Music Single Releases - Week of October 1, 2007
From Jennifer Webb
What's new on country radio?
Jeff Griffith - "I'm Your Radio"
Now THIS is a country singer with a country song. I love it! Radio needs more songs with this kind of traditional sound to them. You don't really find songs like this in heavy rotation and that's a real shame. Give this one a shot and you'll be glad you did.
“Jeff Griffith/I’m Your Radio
—He’s got one of those ultra-warm country baritones that have always made this format sound so special. The lyric is extremely well crafted. I particularly liked the lines asking the familiar questions, “Are you loving? Are you laughing? Are you leaving?” - Robert K. Oermann, Music Row
“All you whiners out there show grouse there’s no great traditional talent coming up in the randks, better give a listen to this exciting discovery-Texan Jeff Griffith. We highly recommend the CD, which is pure country, plain and simple.” – Walt Trott, AFM Musician
“Grand Slam make-it-or-break-it on the new Jeff Griffith, ‘I'm your Radio.’ 100%,” says Dr. Bruce KFTX.
“Jeff Griffith's ‘I'm Your Radio’ are getting huge early response!” Scott Soderberg/KAUS.
“Jeff Griffith’s "I'm Your Radio"—any record that talks about radio gets attention from me at first. However, Jeff does a great job on the record vocally, and I'm looking forward to watching this one grow.” -Chuck Dauphin/WDKN.
“Getting some great early response on Jeff Griffith - Mike Thomas/ KFAV.
“Just when you thought that nobody knew what a real country song sounded like, along comes Jeff Griffith with " I'm your radio". Jeff has a voice that will appeal to anybody who likes traditional country music. As for the song, if George Strait recorded this it would be # 1. Do yourself a favour and seek out this guy and give the record a spin. You will not be disappointed.”- Barry Wass/3INR 96.5 FM/Melbourne, Australia
“What a great artist. Pure country all the way. Everyone loves that new song.” Mike Betten/KLMJ Radio
Just good ol’boys, Joe Stampley and Texas newcomer Jeff Griffith team up for a CD
By Walt Trott
“If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another” is the title of Texan Jeff Griffith’s new Arrowhead album, and brother, it’s a scorcher.
All you whiners out there who grouse there’s no great traditional talent coming up in the ranks, better give a listen to this exciting discovery.
Areeda Schneider did the honors, delivering the goods to us shortly after CRS. Come to find out, this charmer is also the wife of the album’s producer, Joe Stampley.
Both boys can take a bow. “If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another” is solid country, complete with fiddle and steel, one that true traditionalists will want in their collection.
Charlie Patterson, who now manages Griffith, brought his find and the country legend together. What they’ve produced is an amazing mix of old and new, though Joe and Jeff breathe new life into the former.
Stampley brought in a few of his friends to back up Griffith, including bassist Mike Chapman, drummer Steve Turner, lead guitarist J. T. Corenflos, acoustic picker Mark Casstevens, steel man Scotty Sanders, fiddler Hank Singer and keyboardist Dennis Burnside. Studio singers were Jennifer O’Brien, John Wesley Ryles and (Moe’s buddy) Joe.
The title tune sure sounds familiar, but as best we can recall it’s on Randy Travis’ 1996 “Full Circle” CD as an album cut. Obviously, Griffith is a ballad singer, but does a bang-up job on the upbeat “Fishin’ Forever,” which sounds radio-friendly to these ears.
A Santa Fe native, Griffith dusts off the Gary Stewart Top 10 “Drinkin’ Thing” of three decades back, adding a definitive Texas twang to the Wayne Carson creation.
Perhaps this is one singer who’s not a songwriter, as there’s no JG writing credit on this release, all of which no doubt makes tunesmiths like Craig Wiseman and Bobby Braddock happy campers. (There are just too many Alan Jacksons and Toby Keiths out there to suit our Music Row writers.)
“I’m Your Radio” is an intense lover’s refrain requiring a dynamic that ensures the listener’s rapt attention throughout, and Griffith nails it down solid. His smooth praising about a young somebody in his life in “She Reminds Me Of You” turns out to be a testament of love for the gal who got away.
The Tony Stampley-Bobby Carmichael sizzler “Let’s Make Love Tonight, Like There’s No Tomorrow” gives our hero license to render a killer rendition, which he does, also revealing a nice seductive break in his vocals.
Jeff’s presentation proves as powerful on the old Dean Dillon record “Holed Up in Some Honky Tonk,” and again in reprising Moe Bandy’s tables-are-turned tuner “It Was Always So Easy (To Find an Unhappy Woman).”
He gives a contemporary edge to the gritty honky tonker “Whiskey Talkin’,” a ’76 Joe Stampley song, and shifts into a romantic mode for “Tonight Was Made For the Two of Us.”
This record was engineered by member Steve Tveit, with an assist from Jason Hall.
We’ll be anxious to hear Jeff’s follow-up CD; meanwhile, we highly recommend this collection, which is pure country, plain and simple.
DisClaimer: Certainly a rocking listening experience.
Jamie Lee Thurston, Heartland and Jeff Griffith all put pedal to the metal and roared out of the speakers firing on all cylinders. All of them are delightfully country, with just the right amount of dirt under their musical fingernails. These are singles for the beer drinking working class and proud of it. For his effort, Jeff Griffith earns a DisCovery Award.
“Super calls on the Tim and Faith ‘I Need You’ – one of their best!” says Dr. Bruce of KFTX. “Great calls on Jeff Griffith’s ‘If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another.’ We had Jeff in to play a benefit for a 2-year-old who has had 2 cancer surgeries and he helped us raise $11,500. He’s a great guy and a super live act with a great band.”