Ritt Henn

Ritt Henn

BandJazzSinger/Songwriter

Think Elvis Costello meets Charles Mingus in an elevator, and Randy Newman's there taking notes.

Biography

"Cool cat Ritt Henn” [Time Out NY] “is a funkier Cole Porter, a master of the wry and clever." [LA Weekly]

Ritt Henn plays bass, writes songs and lives in New York City. He’s released three CDs of original music and regularly receives royalty checks for radio airplay in Belgium. In his spare time, he makes 28-minute made-for-TV movies.

"Timber," Ritt's latest CD, is “a collection of rich, classic R&B arrangements and textures, a songwriter with a quirky, charming baritone voice…The whole thing just left me smiling.” [Bryan Beller, Bass Player magazine]

Ritt’s toured the U.S. and Europe, opened for Christine Lavin and Soupy Sales, appeared on stage Off-Broadway, performed between Freddie Hubbard and Béla Fleck at the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland, and played with Chuck Berry, Buddy Rich, Martha Reeves and Tom Jones — though unfortunately not at the same time.

In 2005, he won both a Back Stage Bistro Award for Outstanding Songwriter/Instrumentalist and the MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Award for Best New York Debut-Male.

An independent TV producer/filmmaker, Ritt’s created over 200 episodes of "ManBassBoxTV," 28-minute made-for-TV documentaries that put the “real” back into “reality TV.” Working both behind and in front of the camera, often at the same time, Ritt explores the life of a freelance musician at home and on the road. The public access series originally aired in Los Angeles beginning in 1993 and now can be seen in Manhattan and on the web, including clips at YouTube.com/ManBassBoxTV.

Ritt also conducts workshops in conjunction with his instructional tome, "Chart Writing Made Easy," empowering songwriters with the tools to create musical leadsheets of their songs that go well beyond the basic sheet of paper with chord changes written over the lyrics.

Oh, and he likes to stroll through Central Park on Monday afternoons after visiting his shrink on the East Side, and in the past has immensely enjoyed hiking in the High Sierras during the day while playing R&B gigs at local resorts at night, and riding his bike along converted rail-trails on Cape Cod while out there doing "Guys and Dolls" at the Cape Playhouse.

Like those T-shirts say: "Life is good." Indeed.

Lyrics

Go That Mile For You

Written By: Ritt Henn

on the album "Timber"

Mother said, to her only son,
“Need anything, I’ll see that it gets done
Now you’re barely walkin’
But soon you will run
And if you ever look back
It’ll be me you’re starin’ at
I will go that mile for you”

I will go that mile for you
I will go that mile for you
When times get a little tough
I will help you make it through
I will go that mile for you

Man on the street said,
“Can you help me, friend?
You’ve done it before,
I’m hopin’ you’ll come through again”
All I had was a twenty
So he traded ten
Of the mangiest ones
From his limited funds
I will go that mile for you

I will go that mile for you…

With these two feet
It’s not too hard
To walk seventeen hundred
And sixty yards

Waitress said, “Sorry, kitchen’s closed”
I just wanted pie
Not even a la mode
“Listen,” she barked
“I just do what I’m told”
Then I think she winked twice
I know she slipped me that slice
I will go that mile for you

I will go that mile for you…

(c) 2006 Box of Stuff Media (BMI)

Helen Keller and Me

Written By: Ritt Henn

on the album "Timber"

Helen Keller and me
Are choppin’ down trees
In the middle of the wood
Not a soul around
To listen to our sound
Would they even if they could

I wonder
If I raise my voice
Will my song be heard?

Helen Keller can see
Lots more than me
On even the brightest day
What good are these eyes
That look for alibis
Ev’ry inch of the way

I wonder
If I lift my head
Will I see the light?

Can’t just cut down
Ev’ry tree around

So Helen Keller and me
Are sowin’ seeds
For tomorrow’s stack of wood
And there’s kindling galore
All across this forest floor
It’s down there if you look

And I know
I will lift my head
And I will see the light

And I will raise my voice
And my song will be heard

(c) 2000 Box of Stuff Music (BMI)

Maintenance

Written By: Ritt Henn

on the album "Timber"

I forget to check my oil
Tires may be a little low
So wrapped up in my daily toil
I just assume my car is gonna go
After all, isn’t that why God put mechanics on earth
You see, I’m not very good at maintenance

No
Uh-uh

Dirty dishes clutter up the sink
The dust balls have established residency
My house looks half neat when you wink
You see, cleanin’ just isn't my tendency
After all, isn't that what housekeepers are for
You see, I'm not very good at maintenance

Maybe I should learn a thing or two
’Bout takin’ responsibility
’Cause one day all this inattention to detail
Just might get the best of me
Suddenly, I’ll be runnin’ the wishbone
And there’ll be no one to hand off to
Then what am I gonna do?

My lover likes it when I listen
But sometimes I just don't hear
Preoccupied, I may be missin’
The sound of our love slippin’ out of gear
After all, who could blame her if she just got up and left
You see, I’m not very good at maintenance

No, no, no, no…
Better start learnin’ about maintenance

(c) 1993 Box of Stuff Music (BMI)

Range Rover (Through the Mud Called Love)

Written By: Ritt Henn

on the album "Timber"

Bought you a car built to last
A symbol of my love, should anyone ask
A sturdy steed, rugged and strong
It’ll keep you safe as you roll along
Through the mud, through the mud, through the mud
Called love

Built you a house high on a hill
Able to withstand the coldest chill
A heavenly view of earth and sky
And you don’t have to worry ’bout keepin’ dry
Through the flood, through the flood, through the flood
Called love

As we wind down this bumpy road
I am never lettin’ go
I will never let you go

Saved you a place in my heart
A tiny little room that I set apart
I was waitin’ for sunshine to come pourin’ in
I was waitin’ for you to waltz right in and
Fill ’er up, fill ’er up, fill ’er up
Fill ’er up, fill ’er up, fill ’er up
Fill ’er up, fill ’er up, fill ’er up
With love
That crazy little thing called love

Love, love, through the mud called love
Love, love, through the flood called love

(c) Ritt Henn, Box of Stuff Music (BMI)

Goin' Back

Written By: Ritt Henn

on the album "Goin' Back"

Puttin' on my travelin' shirt
And headin' for the plane
Got a bag full of goodies
Be good to see Mom and Dad again

I'm goin' back to be a kid again
Uh-oh
I'm goin' back to be a kid again

Packed a couple pairs of shorts
Grabbed a handful of socks
Everything else I can mooch
From extensive family stocks

I'm goin' back to be a kid again
Uh-oh
I'm goin' back to be a kid again

Gonna get my feet caked in wet Jersey sand
Take a break from bein' a man

So Dad will cook up some scallops
Mom will mend a hem
All will be honkey-dorey
And then I'll go and talk back to them

I'm goin' back to be a kid again
Uh-oh
I'm goin' back to be a kid again

(c) 2000 Ritt Henn/Box of Stuff Music (BMI)

House in the Country

Written By: Ritt Henn

on the album "Timber"

Let me be your house in the country
Sweetly nestled 'side a stream
I'll be your house in the country
Sittin' smack dab by that stream
Go slip your toes in
Wriggle them and dream

In the heat of the midday
I will be your shady tree
When the sun is burnin’ down, honey
I will be your shady tree
Cool off and drift off
Layin' next to me

When the day is done
I will be your feather bed
When the nighttime rolls around
I will be your feather bed
Warm, safe and cozy
Pillow for your head

Let me be your house…

Yeah, gonna be a big ol’ house, with a big ass porch all the way around it. Gonna get us one of those loveseat swings, couple of rocking chairs. You and me, we’re gonna be swingin’ and swayin’ and rockin’ the days, weeks, years away in that big ol’ house.

Let me be your house in the country

(c) Ritt Henn/Box of Stuff Music (BMI)

Hang In There

Written By: Ritt Henn

recorded live at Barnes & Noble, Lincoln Triangle, NYC, Feb. 2008

I know you get tired
And run short of breath
But when I see you slow down
It scares me half to death
Hang in there, hang in there
Hang in there for me

I know you're frustrated
I know that you hurt
You've plowed through the entree
Now savor the dessert
Hang in there, hang in there
Hang in there for me

I've looked up to you from Day One
You're my Rock of Gibraltar, bar none
But even Rushmore erodes
And no one's made of steel
Sometimes roles get reversed
When you switch to the next reel

So take a nap
Sit down if you can't stand
But don't ever be ashamed
To ask me for a hand
Hang in there, hang in there
Hang in there for me

Hang in there, hang in there
Hang in there with me
Hang in there with me
Hang in there for me

(c) Ritt Henn/Box of Stuff Music (BMI)

Just Another Glimpse of You

Written By: Ritt Henn

on the album "Timber"

Just another glimpse of you
You’ll stay with me the whole night through
I’ll walk into my dreams with you
Holding my hand

Just to steal one kiss from you
Or maybe if I’m lucky, two
Three, my knees would turn to goo
Beyond my command

Niagra has her falls
The Trojans had their horse
Graffiti grows on walls
And I love you of course

Justice won’t you please prevail
Cupid let your arrow sail
Grimm be not this fairy tale
With just another glimpse of you

(c) Ritt Henn/Box of Stuff Music (BMI)

In the Spirit of Giving

Written By: Ritt Henn

on the soon-to-be-released CD/DVD "All Kidding Aside"
- final mix, not yet mastered

As we approach that hallowed eve
That reminds us, 'tis better to give than receive
Give from the heart tenderly
Give a little time graciously
Well, in the spirit of giving...

I give up
Let me hear you say it
I give up
That's the spirit

The days grow short, just like my fuse
The nights grow long, more time for booze
I take it on the rocks and I've taken it on the chin
I'm not doin' that ho-ho-ho thing ag'in
Yes, in the spirit of giving...

I give up
I've had it up to here
I give up
To hell with all this cheer
Screw the tinsel, damn the dreidel
Tell a kid Santa's got something
...and it's fatal
Yes in the spirit of giving
I give up

Once I had hope
Once I had a dream
And in that dream
An angel came and whispered to me:

Give up
Give up
Give up the hate, give up the fear, give up the rage
Give up the doubt, give up the hurt, give up the dread
Give up the lies, give up the pain, give up the greed
But don't ever give up on me
As we approach that hallowed eve
That reminds us 'tis better to give

(c) Ritt Henn/Box of Stuff Music (BMI)

Discography

CDs (all available at RittHenn.com, cdbaby.com and iTunes):
Timber (Inimitable Media, 2007)
Goin' Back (Soundpost, 2000)
It's Me! (Soundpost, 1996)

Coming soon:
All Kidding Aside (Inimitable Media, due Fall 2008)
- a CD/DVD combo pack that is a collection of whimsical songs and short films, including some that were tracked (but not released) as part of the "Timber" sessions

2 tunes from "Timber" have been featured on NPR's Car Talk: "Maintenance" and "Range Rover (Through the Mud Called Love)"

Set List

Performances range anywhere from short solo sets (opening act, 'tweeners, etc.) to a single 45/60 minute set to multiple sets with intermission(s). These longer sets can be solo or with an ensemble. Repertoire is culled from 2 plus hours of original tunes, with recognizable chestnuts thrown in as needed.