Track 4 It’s Coming Back to Me

Flame and match

Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded January 26, 2016. Mixed January 27, 2016


Genesis: This is a tough one to recall. My typed lyric sheet is dated July 2005. I believe I wrote the lyrics very soon after I came up with the music. I started arranging a demo version in September 2005 and played it once in 2006 for some family and friends. Then I filed it away, probably because it is a dark and melancholic song.  I have found it hard to share songs like this one. So no better time than now to send it on its way.

I believe the title came about as I created the melody. Like last week’s song, lyrics sometimes come out of nowhere when you are working on a tune, and often times I can’t let go of them. The themes of heartache and memory permeate popular music. No matter what we try to do to forget episodes in our lives, there is always that moment where something will trigger their return. In this case, I came up a very dark scenario of  a character who is fighting off a deep hurt and who seems to have no faith in the past or the future. That’s right, not every “I” in a song represents the writer.

Though the tune flirts with country music (and my first arrangements reflected that), I wanted just a hint with this recording.

Production: Electric bass, drums, acoustic guitars, banjo-guitar, electric baritone guitar, and accordion.



At a certain point in life I stopped remembering

I swear I can’t recall just why I did.

But something said tonight

Set off a matchstick light

I pinched it out

My latest casualty

It didn’t stop the feeling.

Yes, It’s Coming Back to Me.


I know I took that book and burned the pages.

I stood and watched the ashes blow away.

I locked myself down tight.

With constant oversight

Of any thought

That threatened to run free.

Now the gates are swinging open.

Yes, It’s Coming Back to Me.


If I had one wish that I could grant you

It surely wouldn’t be your memories.

For memories will only take you so far.

Then they’ll leave you there

Staring at the stars


How do you put the genie back in the bottle?

How do you turn the tide back to the sea?

What happened in the past

Becomes a walking cast

And with each step

A stab of agony

I can start to feel the twinges.

Yes, It’s Coming Back to Me.

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

Track 4 It’s Coming Back to Me

TRACK 3 The Tell

Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded and Mixed January 19, 2016


y4c9kMpTEGenesis: The song came to me quite quickly on March 28, 2010. For some time I had been thinking about a song built upon “the tell”: the way good poker players can spot non-verbal cues and patterns in their opponents and use these to their advantage. I wanted to generalize the “tell” to everyday interactions.   On that March afternoon I picked up a guitar and started strumming G and C chords. I got the back-and-forth changes clicking, moved to a D chord, and then came up with the refrain that ends each verse. I recorded a demo to my iPhone voice memo app, hence my certainty in dating the origin of the song. In the course of playing the tune, I sang “dummy lyrics,” placeholders that captured the melody. As sometimes happens, a number of these words, including the refrain, survived the more formal lyric-writing process.

I put the song aside (a familiar tell for me) until November 4, 2014. On that day I completed the four verses. As I prepared to arrange and record the song this week, I revised several lines.

I decided to go for a smooth sound this week using acoustic instruments. Everything clicked immediately. I have already realized that recording on a regular basis has speeded up my workflow considerably.

Production: Acoustic bass, brush drums, dobro, National wood-body resonator guitar, mandolin.


You’re one of those people

Who wears her heart on her sleeve

I can see what you’re thinking

And what you believe

You know that I’m different

I play it close to the vest

But gamblers will tell you

I’m like all the rest


You want to know what I’m feeling

You want to know me so well

Better look for The Tell

Look for The Tell


So act like a card shark

Note all that you see

Start looking for patterns

Till you lock down the key

It could be a gesture

A look or a cough

It might be bravado

That’s a little bit off


Yes, I’ve got a story

That’s never been told

I keep it within me

I never let it unfold

It’s a story about winning

A story about loss

A story about a river

That I’ll never cross


Take a look at me, baby

It’s all there to see

It’s been hiding in plain sight

‘Neath a flashing marquee

In time you should find it

And figure me out

But even at that point

You’re gonna harbor some doubt


Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved


TRACK 3 The Tell

Track 2 Nothing Less Than Your Love


Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded January 12 & 13, 2016. Mixed January 13, 2016

Genesis: I wrote this song in 1985. At the time I was an active member of the Minnesota Songwriters Association (MSA). Most of us in the group were trying to write and place commercial songs with music publishers in Nashville. I wrote “Cried Myself Out” around the same time as this song.  Both used choruses as “hooks” to catch the listeners attention.

One Saturday afternoon in 1985, the MSA monthly gathering met at a state-of-the-art recording studio  in Edina, MN, owned by John Volinkaty. Volinkaty was a songwriter who struck gold with the first song he wrote: “Satin Sheets.” Jeanne Pruett released it as a single in 1973 and it became a Number One country hit. Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, and Martina McBride later recorded it. It remains one of the most played songs in the world. I don’t believe Volinkaty wrote another hit but he had a steady stream of royalties for the remainder of his life. (Sadly, he died from cancer in 1992 at the age of 49.)

I came to the meeting with a simple demo of “Nothing Less Than Your Love” on a cassette. The group made positive comments and Volinkaty was very excited. He thought the song was ready for Nashville once I made a better recording. Alas, I never did. Looking back, I can see I missed some opportunities that were there for the taking.

This arrangement is more folk-rock and jingle-jangle than country or country rock. I have also taken the song at a brisker pace than I did when I wrote it.

Production: Bass, drums, organ, electric baritone guitar, and electric guitar.


Believe me when I tell you

You’re the one for me

I like your easy laughter

I like your company

A hundred nights of heartache

Are gone with one sweet kiss.

I’m aiming for your heart

I don’t want to miss


I want

Nothing less than your love

Nothing more than you

My needs are simple

My wants are few

Give me a chance

To show what I can do

I want

Nothing less than your love

Nothing more than you

I’m on a roller coaster

Unsure if you’ll be true

You’ve had so many others

Who said that they loved you

I don’t know about others

I only know about me

I don’t want you halfway

Darling can’t you see


Nothing less than your love

When I reach out in the night.

Nothing more than you

When things aren’t working out right


Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

Track 2 Nothing Less Than Your Love

Track 1 River Out of Eden


Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded 2006. Mixed January 5, 2016


Genesis: I wrote this song in late November 1998. As best as I can recall, I pinched the title from a book by the scientist, Richard Dawkins, which was published in 1996. I didn’t read the book, which is subtitled “A Darwinian View of Life.” From the late 1960s to 2010 I recorded titles, phrases, and lyric ideas in notebooks that I kept on my bedside table. One day in 1998 I saw “River out of Eden” in the notebook and got to work. I have gone back to this compendium for inspiration again and again. The phrase “kingfisher blue” in verse 2 came from one of the lists, pinched from a book of Japanese poetry I read in the late 70s.

The lyric and the moody music were likely inspired by my affection for the songs of Gene Clark. Clark, a founding member of The Byrds, went on to write many poetic, moody songs as a solo performer.

I recorded a demo in 2002 using a drummer and a bass player. Soon after I asked David Spires, a great Nashville pedal steel player, to record a track. I love David’s work on this track but over time I replaced the drum and bass tracks. I had a decent mix completed in 2006, which I shared with a few people, but I was not satisfied. I am very happy with this first release of 2016.

Production: Bass, drums, two electric 12-string guitars, a Wurlitzer electric piano, pedal steel guitar, and a synthesizer string pad.


 The river is perfumed

With petals of spring

The fragrance is two-edged

Since I’ve lost everything

And all the dreams I built

Are left in ruins

As I ride this river

Out of Eden

Her hair was the sunset

Her eyes kingfisher-blue

Death has its parting

Life it has them too

I know I can’t look back

Or I’ll go under

As the shadows dance on this river

Out of Eden

The river grows wider

As it cuts to the sea

A white curve of water

Closes in on me

Hope must now become

My silent partner

As I ride this river

Out of Eden

As I ride this river

Out of Eden

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner all rights reserved

Track 1 River Out of Eden

“More than Passable, Less than Perfect”

fred in studio

I have been writing songs since the early 1970s. Since 2011 I have produced albums for two singer-songwriters and have collaborated with other musicians on two albums. I am in the home stretch of finishing a solo album that I began last spring. However, I have not made a dent in recording, mixing, and releasing dozens and dozens of my songs. I have plotted albums for these songs, based on a number of factors. I now realize that constructing albums this way leads to a faulty quest for perfection, which then leads to procrastination.

So, what to do? I have decided to release an original recording each week in 2016. 52 tracks. Most will be newly recorded weekly but a few will be final mixes of songs that have sat dormant on my computer for years. There will be no rhyme or reason for the song selected each week.

I will document each song on this blog. I will discuss its genesis, its lyrics, and how I produced and recorded it.

My goal is to end 2016 with 52 well-arranged and recorded songs. There may be some tunes that would benefit from an overdub by a singer or musician but my intent is to make these recordings as finished as possible. My motto is “More than passable, less than perfect.”

It would be great if you would join me on this journey. I would love to get feedback. If you think you could add something musically to a recording, let me know. I am willing to revisit a song.


“More than Passable, Less than Perfect”