Griffin House’s “Mighty Good Friend,” premiering exclusively below, came out of a bout of writer’s block. But in the end it turned out to be kid stuff.
That’s because the country-flavored track — from House’s upcoming album Rising Star — features his children singing along as he recorded it in his Nashville garage studio. “I’ve never had a song like this before to go to radio with,” House tells Billboard. “All of my songs that have been successful in the past have been these really unconventional tunes, outside of the box. And every time we tried to make a ‘radio’ song it hasn’t done that well, for whatever reason.
“This is the first time we’ve had a really fun song that checks both those boxes — it’s quirky, but it’s got a singalong vibe to it. I’m interested to see what can happen now that we have something like that. I’ve got my fingers crossed.”
House was, in fact, in the midst of a follow creative stretch when he wrote “Mighty Good Friend” during what he describes as “a hot summer day.” “Writing was feeling like pulling teeth,” he recalls. “I was having all the feelings and stuff but I wasn’t able to get them out in a song — the chorus of the song is talking about that.” House did have a chorus, however, which he showed to his friend Brian Elmquist from the Lone Bellow, who helped come up with the verses and, in the course of a day, turned into a finished song. “We actually did a couple songs together for the album,” says House, who will be joined by Elmquist on tour this summer, “but (‘Mighty Good Friend’) ended up just being a song everybody seemed to like.”
Due out June 28, Rising Star features a guest appearance by the Civil Wars’ Joy Williams and reunites House, by design, “with some friends that I hadn’t played with in quite a while” — namely Paul Moak and Ian Fitchuk, the latter of whom won a Grammy Award this year as the co-producer of Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour. “I just had some new songs and decided I wanted to make a record,” notes House, who had some 20 tracks ready to be worked on and considered for the project. He did have to re-record the title track, however — “People pointed out the original version I had was inadvertently similar to another very popular song,” House notes — but the current version “made the album feel much brighter and more upbeat, which I liked.”
“I feel like there’s some real edgy moments on this album that weren’t necessarily there on my last couple,” House adds. “I like that it has that edge to it, and some softer stuff to match. I think we’ve got a good balance of the two on the record.”
In addition to the album House is also the subject of a film called Rising Star, a documentary by MTV VMA-winning director Shane Drake. The film is finished and should be out this year, according to House, who’s still getting his head around the idea of the project. “I met him by chance a couple of years ago,” House says of Drake. “Turned out he bought my Lost & Found record way back but didn’t put two and two together that Griffin House wasn’t a band, it was person. He had the idea to make the film last year, and we got so excited about it. Luckily we were able to get it off the ground quickly; We found an investor in five minutes, made one phone call, which is unheard of. It’s pretty cool how it all happened.”