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Local veteran, musician keeping busy

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life Woodbury, 55125
Woodbury Bulletin
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Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

Local musician Matthew Griswold will have his plate full the next couple months -- with two new albums and a slew of live performances.

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Griswold, of Woodbury, is set to release both a compilation Christmas album and a new album this winter.

An Army veteran, Griswold has been struggling to find time to focus on his music for the past several years since he has had to balance his musical aspirations and his military career.

Griswold spent five years in the Army which included a tour in Iraq that ended last December.

He returned to Woodbury only to be recalled. However, two weeks into his recall, Griswold was given the go ahead to go home due to a previous pre-diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder.

"I had a two-week trip down to Georgia and they sent me home -- they decided that I had enough," he said. "It's fortunate to be home, but that was really inconvenient because it put a damper on the music career -- it took a little time to get into the swing of things with the music again."

"Home for the Holidays"

Now that Griswold has returned home, he once again has made his music career his focus, and he's ending the year with two new projects.

Griswold's first project is a holiday album that is a charity project for the Holiday Lights in the Park in St. Paul.

The album, "Home for the Holidays: A Minnesota Christmas", includes songs by 15 local artists -- including Griswold, fellow Woodbury musician Phil Thompson, Tim Mahoney, GB Leighton, Ari Herstad, the Peterson Family, Katie McMahon, Mick Sterling, Patty Peterson, Mary Beth Carlson, Wild Colonial Bhoys, Cate Fierro and Roster McCabe.

The songs on the album range from the traditional Christmas classics to some more obscure Christmas favorites.

The album was released Nov. and is currently being sold exclusively at Target. All proceeds will be donated to the charities associated with Holiday Lights in the Park.

"I think people are going to feel the local tie and they're going to know that it's going for a variety of local causes," Griswold said. "I really think people will be a little more compelled to grab this one than Christmas with the stars or something like that."

Griswold was approached by Holiday Lights in the Parks organizers last Christmas when he was doing a concert with composer Phil Thompson, also a Woodbury resident, at Central Park where he performed his own version of John Lennon's Christmas classic "Happy Xmas (War is Over)."

"We kind of got the ball rolling a little bit," he said, "and we were able to keep the ball rolling fast enough to get some big artists here in Minnesota."

Griswold said the Lennon song had always struck a chord with him because of the message in it.

"Over and over that song has really hit a chord and now it has even a greater meaning," he said. "It's great to be able to do a song that is not only going to mean something to me, but that will mean something to a lot of people -- it always kind of hits home for us soldiers."

Griswold will be performing with his fellow "Home for the Holidays: A Minnesota Christmas" artists on Nov. 28 at the Mall of America and Dec. 10 at the Pantages Theater in Minneapolis.

New album on the horizon

Griswold also has plans to release a new album, "Screaming from the Witch's Tower," at the end of December.

He said the solo effort, which is an introspective into his own life as a young military veteran recently returned from Iraq, will be different from his previous works.

"Some are tied into my time in the military, and other's touch more on what it's like post military kind of merging back into society -- it's a very internal album, but it's about external issues," he said.

Griswold debuted his new material at a performance at the Fine Line Music Café' on Nov. 2.

He will also perform Nov. 27 at Tiffany's Sports Lounge in St. Paul and Dec. 12 at O'Garas Bar and Grill in St. Paul.

For more information about Matthew Griswold and his upcoming projects visit www.matthewgriswold.net.

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
(651) 702-0976
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