Opening for any band as legendary as Toots and the Maytals may seem like a daunting task, but for Griffin Anthony it’s something he’s become accustomed to. He’s made quite a name for himself at the Ridgefield Playhouse, and has opened for some huge names including James Taylor, Aaron Neville, and Don McLean. Even the name Griffin seems to command attention (a legendary mythological creature) – and his boldness did command attention when he explained to the audience that although he was opening for one of the legends of Reggae music, he wouldn’t be playing any.
As the audience trickled in they seemed immediately entranced and charmed by the tall, handsome crooner singing to them, beckoning them to their seats. The house fell silent and Griffin took us on a journey that seemed to span many genres rather than stick to just one. Griffin described his music to me as a sort of blend of soul, americana and pop when we met before the show backstage. I was pleasantly surprised to find his demeanor much less commanding than his name and was immediately put at ease by his warmth and his modesty. We spoke about his local roots growing up in New York and attending school in Connecticut, and then his migration to the south and how all of that affected his steady climb up the music charts and recent recognition by the Grammy committee for “Best Pop Vocal Performance” in 2011.
He took the stage around 8pm with a simple set up of a stool and two acoustic-electric guitars, a halo of green and red light enveloping the stage and warming him to us immediately. He spoke to the audience as if we were old friends and his music translated the same. His bluesy almost cowboy-like licks and driving strum patterns were hypnotic and kept us all at the edge of our seats, each song another story into Griffin’s life, his love and soul bared for us to share.
You can download Griffin’s latest EP “The Canyon” on iTunes or listen to his tracks on Pandora and Spotify!