I knew I was hearing something special and individual only a minute in. Griffin Holtby’s single “Overgrown” isn’t a song that grows on you. I think it is a track that speaks to you on its first go-around because it contains such emotion and melodic style that you can’t resist its pull. We don’t have nearly enough melody in modern music so hearing a performer of any age emerge on the scene who has a talent and love for bringing melody into the work made this an easy sell for me. His vulnerability only adds to its presentation. Despite the thoroughly modern sound of this performance, Holtby is a throwback in some ways because he embraces fundamentals first and foremost but never neglects to underline the baseline talents of his art with stylish sophistication that makes difficult emotions and experiences easier for listeners to digest.
It brings guitar, a strutting mid-tempo beat, understated keyboards, and strong backing vocals together in a great musical package. The chief musical elements for me that make the song work is the guitar and percussion. I do wish the drums were a little more authoritative than they are, but they nonetheless provide “Overgrown” with a deceptively energetic pulse throughout the bulk of the song. The guitar work does not cast a long omnipresent shadow over the performance, but it does add extra spice to the musical presentation and gives the track a tough veneer many songs of this ilk often lack. The playing has a slightly phased feel, but few listeners will find it objectionable, and there’s some fiery soloing near the song’s conclusion. It’s a loving nod to Holtby’s rock roots.
His voice is strong and well suited for all different kinds of material, He sounds quite comfortable tackling a pop arrangement and knows how to modulate his voice for dramatic effect – it’s a skill training and practice can refine, but you ultimately have it or you don’t. Many listeners will enjoy the introduction of piano late in this song and it’s a section where Holtby’s soulfulness is apparent, but the masterful way he transitions back into the defining groove is just as impressive.
The production is another indication that Holtby is an artist serious about releasing first class material capable of standing the test of time. He positions his vocals to the front of the mix, but it represents each instrument well and never skimps on giving listeners full value. Holtby smartly never overextends the performance. Running a few seconds over three and a half minutes is a good duration for this track and it feels like time breezes by, but you don’t finish the performance feeling cheated. “Overgrown” delivers on every level and manages to offer listeners a little bit of everything while remaining true to Holtby’s intentions. There is no cookie cutter nonsense in this song. It is a honest and heartfelt expression of his musical talents and provides audiences with an entertaining, even playful in some ways, ride from beginning to end.