Pay Up to Clear Mines - and Nanci Will Sing a Song Just for You; Singer Nanci Griffith Is Dedicating Her Life to the Worldwide Campaign to Eliminate Landmines. She Talked to Peter Grant of icLiverpool

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SHE was known as the "torch bearer of American folk music" but Nanci Griffith is now using her music to promote another of her passions.

Like Sir Paul McCartney, his fiancee Heather Mills and Princess Diana before them, Nanci is dedicated to the eradication of landmines.

For the past two years she has been intensely involved in the humanitarian efforts of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) and their project campaign for a Landmine Free World as well as the Mines Advisory Group in the UK.

She has been to Vietnam and Cambodia during that time but is now back in the UK to tour her latest album, Clock Without Hands. It is her first in five years and features her trademark balance of ballads, uptempo numbers and cover versions.

Nanci says: "Before I went to Vietnam and Cambodia I was invited to take part in a big fund-raising benefit that Sir Paul McCartney was at in Los Angeles with Heather Mills.

"Any voice helps, it's all helping and so good to see Paul McCartney step up - Sir Paul McCartney, " she laughs, stressing the "sir".

"The VVAF and Campaign For A Landmine Free World do brilliant work at medical centres in Vietnam and Cambodia putting people back together again.

"I didn't expect to be as overwhelmed as I was."

Along with the work she was doing she realised that she had the chance to trace the steps of a loved one - her ex-husband and dear friend, Eric Taylor, who spent time in Vietnam as a Marine.

"It took Eric almost 20 years to recover from his experience and get his life back together.

The song Travelling Through This Part Of You came out of that trip. Eric volunteered to be in the Marines to help free a people not knowing he was a victim of the war machine."

Nanci's new songs also reflect love gone wrong, love gone right and love-caught-in the-middle.

Clock Without Hands is full of lyrical poignancy. The title song urges people to turn the television off and to "get a life" before it's too late. "It's been ages since this heart has ticked, " she plaintively sings, as the complacency of love becomes a dual theme.

Produced by Ray Kennedy and Nanci, many tracks were played on her last UK tour where she was at her acoustic best.

The album ends with two beautifully crafted works for her terminally ill mother, Last Song For Mother - a heart-warming tribute - and Mrs G's favourite, In The Wee Small Hours, using the same arrangement Count Basie used for Sinatra.

Born in Austin, Texas, in 1953, she has been described as the "Queen of Folkabilly" and the "torch bearer of American folk music". …