Nanci Griffith The Loving Kind

This Texan troubadour has been a folk favourite for over 25 years now, and her faithful following will find much to enjoy here. The Loving Kind is a genuinely collaborative effort, with her guitarist, Thomm Jutz, credited with co-writing six songs. Griffith's skill as an interpreter is shown on versions of songs by Dee Moeller and on Edwina Hayes and Clive Gregson's "Pour Me A Drink." The years have actually been good to Griffith's voice, lending it a little gravitas compared to earlier work, which sounded just a bit too youthfully sweet. A highlight is "Not Innocent Enough," an anti-death penalty song based on the true story of Philip Workman that features a mass vocal chorus, including John Prine. A more upbeat tone is struck in her ode to Obama-era optimism ("Across America"), while "Party Girl" is a slight but fun country-ish romp. One early Griffith favourite, "One Of These Days," is reprised here, with Todd Snider on harmony vocals, while "Up Against The Rain" was inspired by Townes Van Zandt ("paid your dues and sang the blues"). The album may lack the sustained brilliance of such '80s records as Once In A Very Blue Moon and The Last Of The True Believers but it's a worthy outing. (Rounder)