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Nancy Griffiths, the Texas-born singer-songwriter celebrated in folk and country music circles with her crystal voice and storytelling skills, died Friday in Nashville at the age of 68.
The news was confirmed by its management company, Gold Mountain Entertainment.
No cause of death or further information was provided, reportedly, at Griffith’s request: “Nancy wishes that no statement or press release will be issued for a week after her death.”
Griffith wrote for herself and other singers
Known for her skills as a storytelling songwriter, Griffiths produces memorable songs like “Late Night Grand Hotel” and “It’s a Hard Life Wherever You Go”. Her songs also proved a hit for other singers: Kathy Mattia recorded the country’s Top 5 hit with “Love at the Five and Dime”, while Suzy Bogos topped the country’s Top 10 with Outbound Plane by Griffith with Tom Russell.
She was also known as a translator of other writers’ songs, as she performed in a light and clear voice. It was closely associated with “From a Distance”, a Julie Gould hit that was a huge hit for Bette Midler. Other sounds, other rooms, a 1993 album entirely dedicated to songs written by Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Towns Van Zandt, Jon Prine, and others, featured as a guest by Dylan and Brin, and won a Griffith a Grammy Award in 1994.
I found inspiration in Loretta Lynn
Nancy Caroline Griffith was born on July 6, 1954, in Seguin, Texas, a hill country near San Antonio, and raised in Austin. She began performing as a teen singer, inspired by country music icons such as Loretta Lynn. “She was the first female singer I ever saw who wrote her own songs from her father and played her own rhythm guitar,” Griffith said of Lynn at the 1989 Austin City Limits appearance.
Griffith continued to perform while attending the University of Texas, and hours later while working 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 artists. After early albums on respected roots music labels like Philo, Griffith moved to Nashville in 1985, where she found success during the 1980s and 1990s on major brands like MCA and Elektra, and collaborated with artists like John Prine, Emmylou Harris, and Lyle Lovett.
Griffith was honored by her peers
She survived bouts with breast cancer in 1996 and thyroid cancer in 1998, and continued her career in earnest for most of the 2000s. Griffith received a Lifetime Achievement Trailblazer Award from the Americana Music Association in 2008, and released her last studio album “Intersection” in 2012.
Popular and country dignitaries were quick to respond when news of Griffith’s death came out. Susie Bogos wrote: “I feel fortunate to have so many memories of our time along with most of all I have ever recorded.” Instagram. “I will spend the day enjoying the masterful legacy you have left us.”
Roseanne Cash’s ticket Twitter, Presenting a video clip of Griffith’s “Trouble in the Fields” performance in the 1990s at a show at Down the Line in New York City.
“It was amazing,” Cash said.
Darius Rucker also paid tribute to Griffith Twitter.
He wrote, “I’ve lost one of my role models. One of the reasons I’m in Nashville.” “She amazed me the first time I heard Mary and Umi. Singing with her was one of my favorite things.”