I wasn't a country music fan until Rod and I started dating almost 20 years ago. He introduced me to the music of Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Dan Seals, Randy Travis, Dwight Yoakam, Lyle Lovett, K.D. Oslin, Susie Bogguss, Tanya Tucker, Trisha Yearwood and Kathy Mattea. (Of course, I was already familiar with Kris Kristofferson's music.)
I'm not sure how I missed Nanci Griffith's extensive collection. I'm fairly certain I've heard her music here and there over the years, but until our recent trip to Oregon, I've never been compelled to buy one of her cds. While we were wandering about the Canyon Way Bookstore, I heard Speed of the Sound of Loneliness from Other Voices/Other Rooms and stopped dead in my tracks, listening to the entire song, feeling a strange sense of deja vu, wondering if I'd heard it somewhere else. The harmony vocalist sounded very familiar, too (John Prine!). I knew this was a special album and decided to buy it for my mom. (We not only share similar tastes in books, but music as well.). I thought she'd enjoy it since it has a nice folk/bluegrass sound.
I gave her the cd that afternoon and we listened straight through two times. What a marvelous album! What a beautiful voice. What lovely harmonies (Emmylou Harris and Arlo Guthrie, to name a couple more). What luck to have heard it in that bookstore since it's not a new release. It's been out since 1993!
Click on the album title above and take a listen to some of the tracks. My favorites are Speed of the Sound of Lonelinesss, This Old Town, Comin' Down in the Rain, Ten Degrees and Getting Colder, and Turn Around (which makes me -- and my mom -- cry). Actually, there's not a single track that I don't like!
During the '80s, Texas singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith graduated from modest folk celebrity to find herself signed to a major label and making thoughtful, better-heeled studio albums that were critical favorites but commercial anomalies in the country market where she was initially positioned. This 1993 project finds her returning to her roots, reunited with the producer behind his earlier folk triumphs, Jim Rooney. Taking its title from Truman Capote's first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms is a gentle but whip-smart anthology of excellent songs from acknowledged masters (Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, Woody Guthrie, the Carter Family, the Weavers, Gordon Lightfoot) and lesser-known but hardly less-skilled writers including Kate Wolf, Frank Christian, and Vince Bell. Griffith's clear-eyed vocals and unswerving intelligence are well served by members of her own band, augmented by vocal cameos from a roomful of fellow folk veterans including Prine, Arlo Guthrie, the Indigo Girls, and John Gorka, among others. --Sam Sutherland
Any Nanci Griffith fans out there? What's your favorite album?