Nanci Griffith: Back in Touch with the Guitar

Article excerpt

For the last 15 years, Nanci Griffith's exquisitely crafted music has lovingly and tastefully alchemized the purest elements of folk, bluegrass, country, and pop. Her incisive lyrical vignettes and girlish onstage charm--not to mention the power, clarity, and warm twang of her gorgeous, distinctive vocals--have made her one of the true heroines of the country-folk scene.

Ms. Griffith has always considered herself a "very basic" guitar player whose delicate acoustic picking often deferred to the rootsy layers of fiddle, dobro, banjo, mandolin, and electric guitar that graced her albums. In the past year, however, Griffith says she "went back to guitar school" to learn the parts to some of her favorite folk tunes. Her new album Other Voices, Other Rooms [Elektra] features inspired, stirring renditions of songs by Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Kate Wolf, Jerry Jeff Walker, Janis Ian, and others. Although she gets a little help from her friends, the album's primary guitar voice belongs to Griffith and her Taylor 510 and 612 acoustics, run through Fishman stereo pickups. …