Musical palate cleanser, another RIP edition

A pure voice is stilled.

Nanci Griffith, a Grammy-winning singer and songwriter who kept one foot in folk and the other in country and was blessed with a soaring voice equally at home in both genres, died on Friday. She was 68.

Her death was announced by her management company, Gold Mountain Entertainment. Its statement did not say where she died or give a cause of death, saying only, “It was Nanci’s wish that no further formal statement or press release happen for a week following her passing.”

While Ms. Griffith often wrote political and confessional material, her best-loved songs were closely observed tales of small-town life, sometimes with painful details in the lyrics, but typically sung with a deceptive prettiness.

She was as well known for her covers of other artists’ works as her original material.  Her take on Townes Van Zandt’s “Tecumseh Valley” is stunning.

She told The New York Times in 1988: “When I was young I listened to Odetta records for hours and hours. Then when I started high school, Loretta Lynn came along. Before that, country music hadn’t had a guitar-playing woman who wrote her own songs.”

One of my favorite songs of hers was a roundabout tribute to Loretta Lynn, “Listen To The Radio”.  Here’s a live version:


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13 responses to “Musical palate cleanser, another RIP edition

  1. HirsuteDawg

    Thanks for this, Senator. I’m not a person with broad musical taste – however, I love Nancy – she had a distinct voice and love her music. May she rest in peace.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Damn these RIP posts are getting so common, we’re losing some good folk…thank you, Bluto…what a great soft calming voice, takes one back to simpler times, driving down dirt roads…the line in Tecumseh Valley where “she turned to whorin” always shocked me more than hard profanity in acid rock…that sadness about a tough life for a woman with few prospects…that’s country’s version of some Les Miz shit…don’t know why but that is so raw to me

    Liked by 2 people

  3. rugbydawg79

    Thank you Senator…gave me chills hair standing straight up on my arms. What a beautiful voice. rest in peace Nancy.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ozam

    Thanks for posting. A beautiful unique voice. I happened upon her about 20 years ago. You may hear a song for the first time, but you know it’s her.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Gary Branch

    An amazing voice that more folks should listen to and appreciate. Kudos to you, Senator…your musical range is exposed/naked!
    RIP Nanci…sing High on that Mountain. doc

    Liked by 2 people

  6. rigger92

    Man, can’t beat the sound of a live acoustic ensemble.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One of the most distinctive voices in any genre of music anywhere. Really sorry to be losing such a talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Texas Dawg

    I was not familiar with her work, but really liked what I heard here. Sadly with so many of the musical greats that we grew up with in their mid 70’s and up, this is going to happen at an ever quickening pace.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. dsldawg

    These truly seem to be the days the music died. I was introduced to her music in the mid 80s. Listening to her now

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I did not grow with Nanci’s music, but about 2000 I saw a show that brought American singers into sessions with some Irish singers. What drew me was the name Emmylou Harris. What kept me as long it ran were people like Nanci Griffith and Maura O’Connell. She will be missed.


  11. Illini84

    She was one of my favorites. I had a girlfriend in high school and she was a freshman at UK in Lexington when I was in AIT. We spent the night together (with no sex) in a hotel before I shipped out to Korea. I walked out the door and never saw her again.

    “You’d gone off to fight the war when I returned from school
    And I traded in my innocence when the springtime came in bloom
    And I married for my family; one night I dreamed of you
    And you were running from me in the rain down on Congress Avenue
    Now I saw you once in a crowded bar and it was Christmas time
    I was frightened by the thunder of our hearts in ’69
    Because I live my life in whispers now and I choose to live alone”

    Liked by 2 people

  12. artistformerlyknownasbman

    Her version of Tecumseh Valley is phenomenal. Also love her rendition of Love at the Five and Dime. She will be missed.

    Liked by 1 person