It’s been a tough week in the world of celebrity deaths; on Thursday it was announced that comedian Sean Lock had died – more on him later – and earlier in the week, with much less fanfare here in the UK, I learned when scrolling through Twitter that Nanci Griffith had passed away.
At the time of writing, at her own behest, the cause of death has not been announced, but Griffith had previously beaten both breast and thyroid cancer, so chances are that bastard has scored another heart-breaking victory.
Griffith was born in Seguin, Texas, and her career spanned a variety of musical genres, predominantly country, folk, and what she termed “folkabilly”. Although she was probably best known on this side of the pond as being the writer of Bette Midler’s 1990 smash-hit From a Distance, which went on to win the Grammy for Song of the Year in 1991, she also won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1994 for her 1993 recording, Other Voices, Other Rooms.
As a mark of the high esteem she was held in, she also record duets with the likes of Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Don McLean, Jimmy Buffett and Willie Nelson (to name but a few), and she contributed If These Old Walls Could Speak to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Country, a song which she co-wrote with the legendary Jimmy Webb.
I happened to pick up her (Grammy nominated) 1986 album The Last of the True Believers on vinyl a few weeks ago; it’s a thing of beauty, and I’d been meaning feature something from it ever since.
Griffith’s lyrical style is often story-telling, and nowhere is that more evident than here, on Love at the Five and Dime, lifted from the aforementioned album:
Another great one gone.