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Alfred Howard Writes, Week 4: “Take”

It’s week four of our four-week premiere series of songs from Alfred Howard‘s truly ambitious project Alfred Howard Writes. Alfred Howard Writes is an herculean effort by Alfred Howard and a humongous cast of contributors to independently release 100 songs in 50 weeks. For more info on the project, see the first week’s premiere. The second premiere and third premiere are also available for your listening pleasure. This week, we’re taking a look at “Take.

“Take” is a lightly funky, heavily soulful piece that features Jenn Grinels’ powerful vocals prominently. The organ, guitar, and drums all serve to open a space for Grinels to just go for it–and she does. The back-up vocals amp up this game even more: they are beautiful in their own right while further setting a stage for Grinels’ soaring, searing performance. If you’re a fan of star diva turns, you’ll have a ton of love for “Take.”

Alfred Howard has provided us some comments on “Take,” which I am honored to reproduce here:

Just about all of my songs are autobiographical. I grapple with fiction, plus the world is strange enough that I could write down what was happening and that would theoretically be abstract enough. My lady and I take as many drives as we can to get away from the 24-hour news cycle and the surrealism of this moment in history. Whenever wearing a hazmat suit to go get an apple from the grocery store is your reality, you have to make time for fresh air and trees. So that’s where lines like these come from:

Leave the news behind

The poison lullaby

The venom on the screen


Up the switchback road

High as I can go

This vantage point is free

I remember at some point, a white dove flew by. I’m a birdwatcher, so I’m always looking out for these things. At the top of the pandemic, we got an apocalyptic amount of rain in San Diego. The skies were black and foreboding and here was this pristine white dove, flying in front of this bleak and ominous backdrop. It was striking. The vision couldn’t not be a chorus. I sent it to Jenn Grinels, and she ran with it. She sent the demo back while I was sleeping, and I woke up at 5 a.m. to go to the swap meet, and I heard it and was totally blown away by the demo. She was belting her heart out. I think she really felt it and could relate to this one.

Pre-order “Take” here. You can catch Alfred on his websiteFacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube. And with that–that premiere series is a wrap! Thanks to Alfred Howard for letting us be a part of this project! It was an absolute thrill.