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Bernie Griffen - Doors Wide Open Release Tour

Sun Nov 11th, 2018
Freida Margolis,

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Bernie Griffen and The Thin Men
Elder statesman of roughhouse folk
“What might be the greatest duet that Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash never got to sing.”
Those are the words of Radio New Zealand’s reviewer William Dart, and the song he’s talking about is “Sweet Obsession” from Bernie Griffen’s album Doors Wide Open.

Doors Wide Open was recorded in Melbourne with producer Luke Plumb from the international Celtic-fusion band Shooglenifty. He is a virtuouso mandolin player and multi-instrumentalist who also played on the album.

The big ballad of the album, “I Fell Out of the Sky”, was written in Queensland after Griffen experienced a medical emergency mid-air and his plane had to make an unplanned landing in Brisbane.

In this incarnation of The Thin Men, Griffen shares vocals and songs with Kirsten Warner. Together, his world-worn voice and her vulnerability create two memorable parts rather than lead and backing harmony.
While Griffen’s big presence might be compared to Johnny Cash, Warner’s is more Iris DeMent than June Carter.

In Doors Wide Open, mortality is sometimes on Griffen’s mind. He wrote “When I Die” as a love song honouring his lifetime with collaborator Kirsten Warner. The ‘sweet sorrow’ of the song is an enduring quality of both Kirsten Warner’s voice and Bernie Griffen’s music.

Bernie Griffen mines a terrain of his own inimitable creation. He travels from the classic driving blues “Truck Song” to the whimsical country swing “Wedding Waltz”, the classic folk “Emigrant Song” about New Zealanders leaving for Australia, to the Latin-feel of the first single “My Brain Exploded”.
Title track “Doors Wide Open” is another love song, a pop-ier offering full of harmonies and about as Beatles as Griffen can go.
The Thin Men bring a worldly folk music which is deeply embedded in country and always, underneath, the blues. Griffen’s a master songsmith who writes tunes and words that people don’t forget.

His guitar travels a ‘brooding soundscape’ (William Dart, RNZ). The songs echo with histories of big lives lived and lyrics full of urgency and edgy presence.

Bernie Griffen mines a Southern Gothic terrain, which could be described as swamp-folk or psychedelic country. It shows his deep understanding of roots music. Bernie is the long-standing host of specialist American music show, Border Radio, on Auckland’s alternative station 95 bFM.
The single “My Brain Exploded”

acoustic/solo, alternative, blues, country/folk, jazz, rock, world, Bernie Griffen and The Thin Men

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