Nanci Griffith

Blue Roses From The Moons

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By Holly Crenshaw  

Rolling Stone once crowned her "the Queen of Folkabilly." Her five Grammy nominations also bear witness to her music's unaffected beauty and simple charms.  With more than a dozen outstanding albums behind her, country-folk songwriter Nanci Griffith celebrated life on the road with Blue Roses From The Moons, a sparkling collection of 14 tunes that pay tribute to her folk and rock-and-roll beginnings.

"I wanted to do an album that would really capture the sound of the Blue Moon Orchestra and would mark the years we've been together as a band," says Griffith, whose highly literate lyrics and disarming vocals have won her legions of followers.  

"I'd also been hearing from our fans that they'd love to have another live album, which we hadn't done since 1988, so this covers all that," she adds.  "We recorded live in the studio with almost no overdubs, and a lot of these songs are first takes." 

A Texas-born troubadour, Griffith was able to capture an off-the-cuff immediacy by recording with current and former members of her touring band, then adding Buddy Holly's legendary back-up band, The Crickets, to the mix.  As Griffith trades vocals with Sonny Curtis on his rollicking '60s classic, "I Fought The Law," the fun of those studio sessions is unmistakable. 

"Other than the theme from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, that's Sonny's best known song," she says, "and we just had to do it with The Crickets." In contrast, her duet with Darius Rucker, lead singer of Hootie & The Blowfish, brings a new level of intensity to the haunting "Gulf Coast Highway," a ballad that's long been a highlight of her live shows.  The album also debuts nine Griffith originals and, in keeping with her finely-tuned instincts for great songwriting, includes distinctive cover versions of Nick Lowe and Guy Clark songs.  

Blue Roses For The Moons marks a milestone of sorts for Griffith and her band mates and, in the end, serves as a souvenir of their still-growing musical collaboration. 

Holly Crenshaw, a long-time staff writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, writes frequently about music and the arts.