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

2 thoughts on “TRACK 3 The Tell

  1. Fine song, Fred, I like it right well the way it is. Excellent arrangement and playing. An unobtrusive bass-barytone background vocal for the choruses (starting on the second one) might be available. In other words, I hummed along happily when I listened the second time.


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