Nanci Caroline Griffith (born July 6, 1953) is an American singer, guitarist, and songwriter, raised in Austin, Texas, who currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Griffith appeared many times on the PBS music program Austin City Limits starting in 1985 (season 10).
Griffith in 2004
|Birth name||Nanci Caroline Griffith|
|Born||July 6, 1953|
Seguin, Texas, U.S.
|Genres||Folk, country folk|
|Instruments||Vocalist, acoustic guitar|
|Labels||B.F. Deal, Featherbed, Philo, MCA, Elektra, Rounder, New Door|
|Associated acts||The Blue Moon Orchestra|
Griffith was born in Seguin, Texas, and her career has spanned a variety of musical genres, predominantly country, folk, and what she terms "folkabilly." Griffith won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1994 for her recording, Other Voices, Other Rooms. This album features Griffith covering the songs of artists who are her major influences. One of her better-known songs is "From a Distance," which was written and composed by Julie Gold, although Bette Midler's version achieved greater commercial success. Similarly, other artists have occasionally achieved greater success than Griffith herself with songs that she wrote or co-wrote. For example, Kathy Mattea had a country music top five hit with a 1986 cover of Griffith's "Love at the Five and Dime" and Suzy Bogguss had one of her largest hits with Griffith's and Tom Russell's "Outbound Plane".
In 1994, Griffith teamed up with Jimmy Webb to contribute the song "If These Old Walls Could Speak" to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Country produced by the Red Hot Organization. Griffith is a survivor of breast cancer which was diagnosed in 1996, and thyroid cancer in 1998.
I was struck by how perfect everything was about her singing, her playing, her talking. I realized from the get-go that this was someone who was a complete professional. Obviously she had worked a long time to get to be that good.
In recent years, Griffith has toured with various other artists, including Buddy Holly's band, The Crickets; John Prine; Iris DeMent; Suzy Bogguss; and Judy Collins. Griffith has recorded duets with many artists, among them Emmylou Harris, Mary Black, John Prine, Don McLean, Jimmy Buffett, Dolores Keane, Willie Nelson, Adam Duritz (singer of Counting Crows), The Chieftains, John Stewart; and Darius Rucker (lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish). She has also contributed background vocals on many other recordings. Griffith suffered from severe writer's block for a number of years after 2004, lasting until the 2009 release of her The Loving Kind album, which contained nine selections that she had written and composed either entirely by herself or as collaborations.
After several months of limited touring in 2011, Griffith's bandmates The Kennedys (Pete & Maura Kennedy) packed up their professional Manhattan recording studio and relocated it to Nashville, where they installed it in Nanci's home. There, Griffith and her backing team, including Pete & Maura Kennedy and Pat McInerney, co-produced her album Intersections over the course of the summer. The album included several new original songs and was released in April 2012.
Griffith won the 1994 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album for Other Voices, Other Rooms. In 2008, the Americana Music Association awarded her its Americana Trailblazer Award. Lyle Lovett, who contributed backing vocals to some of "The Blue Moon Orchestra's" recordings,[which?] had won it before her.
Band (The Blue Moon Orchestra)Edit
Griffith refers to her backing band as "The Blue Moon Orchestra." This reference is believed to have been drawn from both the title of one of her earliest albums, Once in a Very Blue Moon, and its title selection, which reached No. 85 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1986.
- Current members
- Nanci Griffith — lead vocals, guitar
- Pat McInerney — percussion
- Maura Kennedy — vocals, guitar
- Pete Kennedy — guitar, vocals
- Previous band members
- J.T. Thomas — bass; vocals
- Thomm Jutz — guitar, vocals
- James Hooker — piano, B-3, keyboards, vocals
- Le Ann Etheridge — vocals, bass guitar, rhythm guitar
- Lee Satterfield — vocals, rhythm guitar, mandolin
- Clive Gregson — guitar, vocals
- Doug Lancio — electric guitar
- Ron De La Vega — bass, cello
- Fran Breen — drums
- Steve Smith — drums
- Philip Donnelly — guitar
Guest backing vocalists:
- Emmylou Harris
- Iris Dement
- Lyle Lovett — backing vocals
Griffith's high school boyfriend, John, died in a motorcycle accident after taking her to the senior prom, and subsequently inspired many of her songs. She was married to singer-songwriter Eric Taylor from 1976 to 1982. In the early 1990s, she was engaged to singer-songwriter Tom Kimmel, but the couple never married.
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions||Label|
|1978||There's a Light Beyond These Woods||—||—||—||B.F. Deal|
|1982||Poet in My Window||—||—||—||Featherbed|
|1984||Once in a Very Blue Moon||—||—||—||Philo|
|1986||The Last of the True Believers||—||—||—|
|1987||Lone Star State of Mind||23||—||—||MCA|
|1988||Little Love Affairs||27||—||78|
|One Fair Summer Evening||43||—||—|
|1991||Late Night Grande Hotel||—||185||40|
|1993||Other Voices, Other Rooms||—||54||18||Elektra|
|1997||Blue Roses from the Moons||—||119||64|
|1998||Other Voices, Too (A Trip Back to Bountiful)||—||85||—|
|1999||The Dust Bowl Symphony||—||—||—|
|2001||Clock Without Hands||—||149||61|
|2004||Hearts in Mind||—||—||—||New Door|
|2009||The Loving Kind||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|1993||The MCA Years: A Retrospective||—||MCA|
|The Best of Nanci Griffith||27|
|2000||Wings to Fly and a Place To Be:
An Introduction to Nanci Griffith
|2001||20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection:
The Best of Nanci Griffith
|2002||From a Distance: The Very Best of Nanci Griffith||—|
|2003||The Complete MCA Studio Recordings||—|
|2015||Ghost In The Music||---||VOX ROX|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|Irish Singles Chart|
|1986||"Once in a Very Blue Moon"||85||—||—||Once in a Very Blue Moon|
|1987||"Lone Star State of Mind"||36||—||—||Lone Star State of Mind|
|"Trouble in the Fields"||57||43||—|
|"Cold Hearts/Closed Minds"||64||—||—|
|"Never Mind"||58||—||—||Little Love Affairs|
|1988||"From A Distance"||—||—||9||Lone Star State of Mind|
|"I Knew Love"||37||—||20||Little Love Affairs|
|"Anyone Can Be Somebody's Fool"||64||—||—|
|1989||"It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go"||—||—||—||Storms|
|"I Don't Wanna Talk About Love"||—||—||—|
|1991||"Late Night Grande Hotel"||—||—||—||Late Night Grande Hotel|
|1993||"Speed of the Sound of Loneliness"||—||—||—||Other Voices, Other Rooms|
|1995||"Well...All Right" (with The Crickets)||—||87||—||Not Fade Away (Remembering Buddy Holly)|
|1997||"Maybe Tomorrow"||—||—||—||Blue Roses from the Moons|
|"Gulf Coast Highway"||—||—||—|
|1999||"These Days in an Open Book"||—||—||—||The Dust Bowl Symphony|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
- Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration Sony VHS (1993)
- Other Voices, Other Rooms Elektra Video VHS (1993)
- Winter Marquee Rounder/Universal DVD, Widescreen, (2002)
- One Fair Summer Evening...Plus! Universal Music & VI DVD, Fullscreen, (2005)
|1988||"I Knew Love"||Michael Salomon|
|1989||"It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go"||Willy Smax|
|1991||"Late Night Grande Hotel"||Sophie Muller|
|1993||"Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" (with John Prine)||Rocky Schenck|
|1996||"Well...All Right" (with The Crickets)|
- Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 548–9. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
- "The Popdose Guide to Nanci Griffith". Popdose. 2008-01-08. Retrieved 2012-05-21.
- "Biography". Archived from the original on January 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-13. originating from nancigriffith.com Retrieved January 31, 2013
- Deitz, Roger. "Home at Last." Acoustic Guitar. May/June 1995, No. 30, p. 52.
- [dead link]
- Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
- "Nanci Griffith Album & Song Chart History - Country Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media.
- "Nanci Griffith Album & Song Chart History - Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 236. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
- "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada - Country Singles". RPM.
- "Irish charts - search the charts". IRMA.
- "CMT : Videos : Nanci Griffith : It's A Hard Life Wherever You Go". Country Music Television. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
- "CMT : Videos : Nanci Griffith : Late Night Grande Hotel". Country Music Television. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
- "CMT : Videos : Nanci Griffith : Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness". Country Music Television. Retrieved January 21, 2013.