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Nanci Caroline Griffith (born July 6, 1953) is an American singer, guitarist, and songwriter,[1] 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).

Nanci Griffith
Griffith in 2004
Background information
Birth nameNanci Caroline Griffith
Born (1953-07-06) July 6, 1953 (age 66)
Seguin, Texas, U.S.
GenresFolk, country folk
InstrumentsVocalist, acoustic guitar
Years active1978–present
LabelsB.F. Deal, Featherbed, Philo, MCA, Elektra, Rounder, New Door
Associated actsThe Blue Moon Orchestra
The Crickets
Darius Rucker
The Kennedys
James McMurtry


Griffith was born in Seguin, Texas,[2] and her career has spanned a variety of musical genres, predominantly country, folk, and what she terms "folkabilly."[1] 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.[3]

Singer-songwriter Christine Lavin remembers the first time she saw Griffith perform:

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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Nanci Griffith among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[6]


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

Guest backing vocalists:

Personal lifeEdit

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.[2] 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.[citation needed]


Studio albumsEdit

Year Album Peak chart positions Label
US Country
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
1989 Storms 42 99 38
1991 Late Night Grande Hotel 185 40
1993 Other Voices, Other Rooms 54 18 Elektra
1994 Flyer 48 20
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
2002 Winter Marquee 45 Rounder
2004 Hearts in Mind New Door
2006 Ruby's Torch Rounder
2009 The Loving Kind
2012 Intersection Hell No
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Compilation albumsEdit

Year Album Peak positions Label
1993 The MCA Years: A Retrospective MCA
The Best of Nanci Griffith 27
1997 Country Gold
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


Year Single Peak chart
US Country
CAN Country
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
1994 "This Heart" Flyer
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


Music videosEdit

Year Video Director
1988 "I Knew Love" Michael Salomon
1989 "It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go"[13] Willy Smax
1991 "Late Night Grande Hotel"[14] Sophie Muller
1993 "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" (with John Prine)[15] Rocky Schenck
1994 "This Heart"
1996 "Well...All Right" (with The Crickets)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 548–9. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ a b "The Popdose Guide to Nanci Griffith". Popdose. 2008-01-08. Retrieved 2012-05-21.
  3. ^ "Biography". Archived from the original on January 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-13. originating from Retrieved January 31, 2013
  4. ^ Deitz, Roger. "Home at Last." Acoustic Guitar. May/June 1995, No. 30, p. 52.
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Nanci Griffith Album & Song Chart History - Country Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media.
  8. ^ "Nanci Griffith Album & Song Chart History - Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media.
  9. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 236. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
  11. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada - Country Singles". RPM.
  12. ^ "Irish charts - search the charts". IRMA.
  13. ^ "CMT : Videos : Nanci Griffith : It's A Hard Life Wherever You Go". Country Music Television. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  14. ^ "CMT : Videos : Nanci Griffith : Late Night Grande Hotel". Country Music Television. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  15. ^ "CMT : Videos : Nanci Griffith : Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness". Country Music Television. Retrieved January 21, 2013.

External linksEdit