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Nancy Griffith, a Texas – born singer – songwriter, celebrated in folk and country music circles for her crystal voice and storytelling skills, died Friday in Nashville at 68.
The news was confirmed by her management company, Gold Mountain Entertainment.
No cause of death or additional information was given, allegedly at Griffith’s request: “Nancy wants the statement or press release not to happen a week after her death.”
Griffith wrote for herself and other singers
Griffiths was known for her skills as a singer-songwriter, producing memorable songs like “Late Night Grand Hotel” and “It’s Hard Life Wherever You Go”. Her songs have proven successful for other singers as well: Kathy Mattea won the country’s Top 5 hit with “Love at the Five and Dime”, while Suzy Bogguss entered the Top 10 countries with “Outbound Plane,” which Griffith wrote with Tom Russell.
She was also known as an interpreter of songs by other writers, who performed in a light, clear voice. She was closely associated with the song “From a Distance,” by Julie Gold which gave Bette Midler a big hit. Other voices, other rooms, a 1993 album dedicated entirely to songs written by Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine and others, featured guest appearances by Dylan and Prine, and Griffith won the 1994 Grammy Award.
She found inspiration in Loretta Lynn
Nancy Caroline Griffith was born on July 6, 1954 in Seguin, Texas, a small town on a hill near San Antonio, and grew up in Austin. She started performing as a singer as a teenager, inspired by country music icons like Loretta Lynn. “She was the first female singer I ever saw, who wrote her own songs for Dad and played her rhythm guitar,” Griffith told Lynn in 1989 in an Austin City Limits performance.
Griffith went on to perform while attending the University of Texas, and after hours worked as a kindergarten teacher. She married fellow singer-songwriter Eric Anderson in 1976. They divorced in 1982.
In 1978, she won the New Folk Competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival, a rite of passage among Texas folk music performers. After early albums at reputable native music labels such as Philo, Griffith moved to Nashville in 1985, where she achieved success at major labels such as MCA and Elektra in the 1980s and 1990s, and collaborated with artists such as John Prine. , Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett.
Griffith is honored by her peers
She survived attacks with breast cancer in 1996 and thyroid cancer in 1998, seriously pursuing her career for most of the 2000s. Griffith got a Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association Americana 2008, and her last studio album, “Intersection”, was released in 2012.
Folk and village shrines reacted quickly when news of Griffith’s death surfaced. “I feel blessed to have many memories of our times along with almost everything she recorded,” Suzy Bogguss wrote on Instagram. “I’ll spend the day enjoying the articulated masterpiece she left us.”
Rosanne Cash remembered her Twitter, offers a video of a performance of “Trouble in the Fields” that Griffith gave in the ’90s at a show at New York’s Bottom Line.
“It was – it is – amazing,” Cash said.
Darius Rucker also paid tribute to Griffith Twitter.
“I lost one of my idols. One of the reasons I’m in Nashville,” he wrote. “It thrilled me in my mind when I first heard Marie and Omie. And singing with her was my favorite thing to do.”