Griffin Anthony is an artist that preserves the legacy of country music while moving it forward. This is most evident in his latest release, Refuge.
This album doesn’t offer massive hooks, drum machines, auto-tune or a flashy rhinestone production. Refuge listens much like a concept album from the mid-1970’s. Anthony says, “It’s a record about hope.” Instead of depending on the usual country music bells and whistles, Refuge let’s the lyrics do the heavy lifting.
Anthony’s well-crafted narratives invite you into the highs and lows of various characters. The album opens with “Two Americans,” a bittersweet retrospective of love lost and the pursuit of the American dream. Told from a third-person perspective, the song weaves the listener through the heartland of the American Midwest and investigates ambition, humility and the volatility of life.
The album quickly continues into more personal narratives with some of the biggest highlights being “River” and “1954.” The final track on Refuge’s vinyl a-side, “River,” possesses a buoyant dream-like quality. One of the most complex arrangements on the album, it spins a tale that explores both the serenity and turbulence of romantic relationships.
“1954” is a historical gem with two facades. This song can be interpreted as a general piece about pride and loss, yet the historical context lies at the 10th Anniversary of D-Day in World War II. Although Anthony is only 35 years old, he hauntingly and convincingly channels the song’s aging veteran. Coupled with Anthony’s uncompressed vocal and steady right-hand finger-style rhythm, this “period piece” speaks to the men and women who struggled with PTSD during the most celebrated time in American history.
These songs are just where the album starts. Produced by Jon Estes and with assistance from the Grammy Award-winning Andriga Tokic, Refuge was recorded strictly analog to two-inch tape. During the two weeks of tracking at East Nashville’s The Bomb Shelter studios, Anthony states, “mistakes were regarded as moments.” With the inability to digitally touch-up the performances, it speaks to the trustworthy nature of the sound and provides refreshment from the sterilized music of our digital age.
Anthony’s Refuge successfully champions the history of country music with songs that evoke a deep-rooted emotional response.
This is an album you do not want to miss. Click the album art below and download your own copy of Refuge.Head to Gabe Crawford’s blog, Vinyl Culture, to read an exclusive interview with Anthony.