Track 39 Marita, Marita


Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded September 28 and 29, 2016. Mixed September 29, 2016.



Genesis: I wrote this song during the Carter Administration—1977. This is a wistful song in waltz time that displays the singer-songwriter environment of that decade. I can hear traces of Dylan, Neil Young, and even David Blue. I never recorded the song until this week but I recall rehearsing it with a harmonica in a harmonica rack.

I wrote a new verse this week—I needed to fill in a gap. Apart from that, this song has not changed in almost 40 years.

Production: Acoustic Bass, Acoustic Guitars, Pedal Steel, and Drums.


Marita, Marita

Marita, Marita

Where are you now?

If you would tell me

I’d get there somehow

Trapped in this city

Give me reason to leave

Marita, Marita

My heart’s on my sleeve


I remember the moment

When you said goodbye

Snow on the ground

Smoke in the sky

Nothing has changed much

It still hasn’t cleared

The nights are so long

So much worse than I feared


I held you for a while

But I couldn’t hold you back

I tried to pursue you

But I only lost track

The postmarks keep changing

They show where you’ve been

Lost and found

And then lost again


Marita, Marita

My hope’s almost gone

With time standing still

I can’t get to the dawn

Wearied and wondering

What more I can do

Marita, Marita

Come out of the blue

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved


Track 39 Marita, Marita

Track 38 Morning Song


Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded September 5 and 22, 2016. Mixed September 22, 2016.


Genesis: I wrote the lyrics on July 2, 2009 in one sitting. I couldn’t find the right music until March 27, 2011.

The lyrics were written two years before I retired from my day job. It is a fantasy about how my days would be spent—waking early, sipping coffee, and writing. I think the song is heavily shaped by two of my favorite songwriting craftsmen, Guy Clark and Rodney Crowell.

Theresa laughed when I told her the gist of the song—I never get out of bed in the morning before her. That’s true. I also have to walk the dog and the cats have to be fed. As I said, it is a pleasant fantasy.

The arrangement is based on the Clark/Crowell Texas singer-songwriter sound. A pretty nylon-string guitar, a sweet accordion, and a short swell of pedal steel guitar give the song a mellow, morning treatment.

Production: Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitars, Accordion, Pedal Steel, and Drums.


Morning Song

Sitting on the porch

The sun appears

A rabbit scampers by

The cobwebs clear

A mug of coffee

Pad and pen

Another chance

For me to spend

Time inside a place where I belong

Listening for another morning song


In my younger days

I worked the night

The world made much more sense

In black and white

Into the darkness

I would fly

To seize the words

Out of the sky

I had no doubts judging right from wrong

A bird of night with his evening song


All things settle

And come to rest

Some feel cursed

Some feel blessed

Some free and clear

Some repossessed

The chips always fall where they may


She’s sleeping in our bed

Just down the hall

When she gets up

She’ll scan my messy scrawl

I might just have

Some lines she likes

Some may end up

Called third strikes

In time I’ll have enough to string along

One more child one more morning song

Copyright Fred Grittner 2016 All Rights Reser

Track 38 Morning Song

Track 37 Done


Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded September 10 and 14, 2016. Mixed September 14, 2016.


Genesis: I wrote the lyrics on January 9, 2007. I revised them in 2010 and 2016 but they were minor changes. The lyrics appear to be random lines but I was dealing with work and family pressures. After 20 years as a court administrator, I realized I was being marginalized in part because of my long tenure. The music wrote itself.

For this recording I went for a roots rock/grunge sound.

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



Done with the hollow laughter

Done with the sweet hereafter

Done with cash infusions

Done with these grand illusions

Done clean up this mess

Done clean out your desk

Done I can see the light

When all is said and done


Done cash in your winnings

Done no extra innings

Done with the slow striptease

Done turn in your keys

Done take it off the griddle

Done playing second fiddle

Done I can see the light

When all is said and done


I’ve been there and done that

Why would I do it again?

I wish I knew my beginnings

As well as I knew my ends


Done with these no-good feelings

Done with these old glass ceilings

Done stop heroic measures

Done there’s no buried treasure

Done turn the pages

Done open up the cages

Done I can see the light

When all is said and done

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

Track 37 Done

Track 36 Monterrey Sun



Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded August 21, September 5 and 8, 2016. Mixed September 8, 2016.


Genesis: I wrote this song sometime during 1984, while working on a soon-to-be abandoned album project. The album was modeled on David Blue’s wonderful 1973 album, Nice Baby and the Angel. That album featured David Lindley on lap steel guitar, fiddle, and viola. I love the moody ballads and the up-tempo rockers.

This song is very transparent: a drug deal that is going to go terribly wrong. I believe I had been reading several early novels by Graham Greene, hence the hint of religious guilt in the first line of the chorus.

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


Monterrey Sun

Mexico on the Fourth of July

Ain’t nobody celebrating here

Standing in a furnace called Monterrey

Can’t drink I’ve got to stay clear

Sipping warm Coca-Cola from a Styrofoam cup

Waiting for a man who hasn’t shown up

One more day my cover gets blown

One more day ship my body back home



Father forgive me for all that I’ve done

Stop torturing me with this Monterrey Sun

White heat pours from the end of a gun

Take me away from this Monterrey Sun

Take me away from this Monterrey Sun


The money I’m holding is covered with sweat

My nerves are crazy with heat

A child keeps crying but nobody comes

Mad dogs careen down the street

Can’t make a phone call no line is secure

The locals are restless I’m not so sure

When I get back gonna get what I’m owed

Got to get out or it’s the end of the road



Here comes the Chevy all covered in dust

With a woman behind the wheel

She motions me closer I shouldn’t move

No strangers was part of the deal.

It looks like a set-up but I want to go home

We drive through adobe bleached to the bone

When I came to there was blood on the stone

Took a moment to realize that it was my own


Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved


Track 36 Monterrey Sun

Track 35 Wishing Now Was Then

kc club

Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded August 25 and 30, 2016. Mixed August 30, 2016.



Genesis: I came up with the music on December 10, 2001 and called it “Forgotten Laughter.” The jazzy chord changes and the slow tempo suggested a moody lyric but nothing came until August of 2003, when the song was retitled “Wishing Now Was Then.” I imagined a musician, actor or writer walking the back streets in the middle of the night, ruminating about missed chances, betrayals, and dead ends. I rewrote the lyrics in December 2006, and then revised the song heavily on August 25, 2016, eliminating a number of unnecessary words.

Since 2001, the arrangement of the song has moved from a slow jazz swing style to a mournful straight feel ballad with a pedal steel guitar and a string section and then back to the slow jazz style, this time with a tenor sax included. I imagined a torch singer performing this right before closing time. I can hear a bit of Tom Waits in this song but my voice is much too smooth to evoke Waits in this recording.

 Production: Acoustic Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Tenor Sax, and Drums.


Wishing Now Was Then

Sweetheart deals

Teardrop stains

Stale perfume

Flat champagne

Walking through

The back street rain

Wishing Now Was Then


I am blind

But I can see

The telltale marks

Of futility

There is little hope for me

Wishing Now Was Then


Much was promised

Or so I thought

Doubting questions were all spurned

At the time

I assumed the best

Oh but I learned


Drop the curtain

Strike the sets

No more drama in me now

I’ll depart

This worn out stage

Taking one last broken bow


Peeling off

The sugar coat

Of what I sang

What I wrote

All that’s left

Is this long blue note

Wishing Now Was Then

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved


Track 35 Wishing Now Was Then

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