Track 34 Open Secret


heart-bookRecording and Mixing Dates: Recorded August 21 and 25, 2016. Mixed on August 25, 2016.


Genesis: Growing up the 1950s, I was a big fan of the Everly Brothers. Their harmonies were wonderful and their songs were always catchy. As I studied songwriting in the 1970s, I discovered that Felice and Boudleaux Bryant had written most their hits, including Bye Bye Love, All I Have to Do is Dream, Wake Up Little Susie, So Sad, and Love Hurts. They also wrote Raining in My Heart for Buddy Holly.

In 1982, I decided I wanted to write a song that I could hear the Everly Brothers sing. I had been keeping the title “Open Secret” reserved for quite some time in my notebook, waiting for the right opportunity. The lyrics and music were simple, with a bridge that harkened back to those songs by the Bryants. I recorded a fairly primitive demo using just guitar and a tenor banjo tuned like a 5-string banjo. The song was well received by my friends.

Soon after, I had an opportunity to pitch some of my songs to a Twin Cities music publisher that had an office in Nashville. The man who listened to Open Secret had a puzzled look on his face when I finished playing it for him. He liked the music quite a bit but did not know what “open secret” meant. I tried to explain but he dismissed me and suggested I rewrite the song and get rid of this troubling concept. Needless to say, my attempts at breaking into the country music market were unsuccessful.

Several years ago I uploaded my 1982 demo to the Folk Alley website. To my surprise, the song has been listened to thousands of times.

I kept this version simple but added a few more instruments.

 Production: Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, 12-String Acoustic Guitar, and Drums.



No words to say
You must see what’s on my mind
No games to play
You couldn’t be that blind
It’s an Open Secret
Hiding’s hard to do
It’s an Open Secret
I’m in love with you

My heart’s a book
With a page I wrote for you
Just take a look
I underlined it too
It’s an Open Secret
Hiding’s hard to do
It’s an Open Secret
I’m in love with you

You came and you conquered
Now these feelings will not die
I can’t wait till tomorrow
Just look me in the eye

It’s an Open Secret
Hiding’s hard to do
It’s an Open Secret
I’m in love with you

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved




Track 34 Open Secret

Track 33 Going to Sedona


Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded July 31 and August 6, 2016. Mixed August 6, 2016.



Genesis: I wrote this song almost 10 years ago to this day. In 2006, I attended my first Kingston Trio Fantasy Camp in Scottsdale, Arizona. I didn’t participate as a camper who got up on stage with former Kingston Trio members John Stewart and Nick Reynolds. Rather, I hung out at the hospitality suite and spent days and long nights jamming with other folk musicians. I was blown away by the experience. (Theresa and I just returned from this year’s camp, where we reconnected with many friends and made a few new ones.)

I overheard a member of John Stewart’s band mention that after camp he was heading to Sedona to relax and clear his mind. For some reason that triggered an idea for a song about a place I had never visited. I came up with the tune and the chorus lines the next day. Later in August I learned more about Sedona and completed the first of seven versions of the lyrics. The final version was completed on July 31 of this year.

I tinkered with the arrangement again and again but never settled on something that made sense. Two weeks ago I found what I was looking for.

Several years ago, Theresa and I got the chance to visit Sedona. It is a spectacular place with a thriving arts community. Our camp buddy, Fran Jackson, has a wonderful vacation rental property. One of these days we plan to go back and stay awhile.

Production: Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Electric Baritone Guitar, Mandolin, Piano, String Quartet.


Going to Sedona

 Too many shadows falling

On the city tonight

From the looks of things

I finally lost my way

I’m hearing from

Far too many voices

And I can’t make out

What they’re trying hard to say


Going to Sedona

Going to Sedona

Going to Sedona

To see my way clear


The desert winds at daybreak

They will cleanse me

And the red, red rock

Will paint my faded heart

I’ll walk the dusty mesas

And the canyon trails.

And listen for

My demons to depart



The road rises up

As I keep driving

While the temperature

Slowly starts to slide.

Somewhere in these

Higher elevations

I’ll search for things

I’ve done my best to hide.


Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved.

Track 33 Going to Sedona

Track 32 Looking For The Wrong Things

rack 32


Recording and Mixing Dates: May 16 and December 12, 2015, August 6, 2016. Mixed August 6, 2016.



Genesis: I wrote this song on February 25, 2008, during the last days of my participation in FAWM (February Album Writing Month). I came up with the modal melody built on just two chords and within minutes I wrote the lyrics for the refrain. I revised the lyrics in May and December of 2015.

The person in the song is drawn to things that he knows are wrong but that he cannot abandon. He lives a life filled with lies, alibis, and guilt, doomed to repeat his actions again and again.

 Production: Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Accordion, Cello, and Drums.


Looking for the Wrong Things

Down the beaten path

Heading for a place I know too well

I walk alone

Summoned to appear

A voice inside my head says not to go

I walk on


Looking for the wrong things

Looking for the wrong thing tonight

Looking for the wrong things

Looking for the wrong thing tonight

Forlorn rendezvous

Border angels lift the veil of time

Then let it fall

Counterfeited dreams

Fingerprints left on a shattered glass

A souvenir


Skim coat masquerade

Cracks erupt before the paint can dry

It’s come to this

Semi-precious lies

Living with the ghost of future’s past

That will return


Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

Track 32 Looking For The Wrong Things

Track 31 All Over Now


Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded April 22, 26, and May 3, 2015. Mixed August 3, 2016.


Genesis: I wrote the music on May 4, 2003. In singing nonsensensical, placeholder lyrics for the melody the concluding line of the verse ended with “It’s All Over Now.” Nothing else survived when I wrote the lyrics on November 9, 2014. I revised the lyrics on April 30, 2015, just before I recorded my final vocal tracks.

The themes of aging, lost illusions, and lost dreams runs through the song. We all deal differently with these issues and change our points of view from time to time. If I were to write the song today I am sure I would be a little bit more hopeful… The line “In these last days of paper” came to me as I made the transition from printed books to e-books. When I retired from appellate court administration in 2011, the Minnesota courts were transitioning from paper to electronic documents, so that must have been an additional creative seed.

The arrangement is vintage singer-songwriter, keeping it simple. I had fun playing lead guitar.

 Production: Bass Guitar, Electric Guitars, Organ, and Drums.



 Shoebox of photos

Cassettes, and keys

Resurrected moments

That have brought me to my knees

I can see those phantoms dancing

It’s All Over Now


Sleepwalked through changes

Both good and bad

Now I’m sorting out illusions

I never thought I had

I’m no Don Quixote

It’s All Over Now


Endgame is coming

With moves I’ve got to make

On the wrong side of something

My blinded heart can’t take

It can’t shake


Just down the hillside

I hear a speeding train

I used to race the moon

Now I can’t outrun the rain

The third act is the hardest

It’s All Over Now


I’m getting pushed

By the calloused hands of time

In a graveyard of dreams

Where remembrance is a crime

There is no time


Best of intentions

Are hard to carry through

Dark comes down

On whatever we must do

In these last days of paper

It’s All Over Now

In these last days of paper

It’s All Over Now

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

Track 31 All Over Now