Folk Singer Nanci Griffith Dies at 68
"It was Nanci's wish that no further formal statement or press release happen for a week following her passing," Gold Mountain Entertainment said in a statement [via AP].
Born in Seguin, TX, in 1953, Griffith made her debut at age 24 with There's a Light Beyond These Woods, the first of 20 studio albums she would release over her career of four decades.
The artist would record duets with the likes of Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Don McLean, Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson, Counting Crows' Adam Duritz, the Chieftains and Darius Rucker, while singers including Bette Midler, Kathy Mattea and Suzy Bogguss would achieve their own success with songs Griffith had written or co-written, including "From a Distance," "Love at the Five and Dime" and "Outbound Plane."
Griffin's 1994 album, Other Voices, Other Rooms, would earn her a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1994. The 17-song set saw Griffin and special guests including Harris, Prine, Arlo Guthrie, Guy Clark, Indigo Girls and more cover the work of of songwriters who influenced her own work — Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Gordon Lightfoot among them.
Griffith survived cancer twice in the 1990s, and would release her last studio album, Intersection, in 2012.
"I feel blessed to have many memories of our times together along with most everything she ever recorded," Bogguss wrote in tribute to her late friend and collaborator. "I'm going to spend the day reveling in the articulate masterful legacy she's left us."
In a respective tribute, Rucker wrote, "Today i am just sad man. I lost one of my idols. One of the reasons I am in Nashville. She blew my mind the first time I heard Marie and Omie. And singing with her was my favorite things to do."
Find further tributes to Griffith from Ron Sexsmith, Jason Isbell and more below.
Nanci Griffith wrote such beautiful songs. I didn't know her, but I believe it must be true that she had a big beautiful heart. You can hear it.— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) August 13, 2021
RIP the great Nanci Griffith RS pic.twitter.com/p2jhs28ubl— Ron Sexsmith (@RonSexsmith) August 13, 2021
Nanci Griffith played a pivotal role in my signing to MCA when I was just a 20year old kid. She caught the last half of my show one night at the Continental Club in Austin. Phoned up Tony Brown who was in town with her and said he should come hear me. Thank you, Nanci. RIP pic.twitter.com/GKCjqQWTOP— Kelly Willis (@KellyWRobison) August 13, 2021
😥 Friend just messaged me to say that Nanci Griffith has died. An extraordinary singer writer & player. She was v good to me when I was starting out, brought me on the road with her & brought people to my gigs. We shared some epic nights. "God bless the flyer…" #NanciGriffith pic.twitter.com/AjFncw1FVB— Eleanor McEvoy (@eleanormcevoy) August 13, 2021