Wednesday, April 1, 1987
' e Michigan Daily
Griffith rolling into Ark
by V.J. Beauchamp
"The last time I was in Ann
Arbor," Nanci Griffith said, "my
luggage had been lost for five days.
I was on tour, so there was no way
it could catch up with me. If you're
on tour, they keep sending it from
city to city, and it's always a day
behind you. That was kinda funny,
because all I had were the clothes
on my back."
That was last fall. Griffith
returns to Ann Arbor tonight for
two shows at the Ark.
Texas-born Griffith, a talented
guitarist and songwriter, has a voice
that is beautiful, sweet, and searing.
She uses her voice to reflect her
characters, knowing that she has to
rely on inflection and melody to get
the point across the bar when folks
can't hear the words. As a down to
earth woman, and a wonderful
acoustic country/folkabilly perform -
er, she has something for just about
any fan of pure American music.
As well as a captivating song -
writer, whose lyrics often reflect the
complicated lives of "simple"
middleclass people, Griffith is also
a novelist. Love of a Kind Heart
should soon be another feather in
After four indepentently released
albums, Griffith is now recording
for MCA. She shopped around for a
year, looking for a label who
wanted her, and not someone they
could remake and package. If Lone
Star State of Mind is any example,
then MCAs doing okay by her. The
record sparkles with everything that
made Griffith so popular as an
"indie" - pure, gutsy story-songs
"I started singing and playing
guitar when I was about six. When
I was ten years old I heard Carolyn
Hucksler on the radio, and she made
my heart sing...that was what I
wanted to do," Griffith said. "There
was a real lively music scene at that
time (in Austin)...and a couple of
different clubs that featured live
music. I was fourteen and my
parents would take me, and I'd do a
lot of opening of shows. Finally,
when I was nineteen, this place
opened called The Hole in the
Wall." That was just the beginning
for Griffith, who recorded There's a
Light Beyond These Woods and
began getting invitations to play
While it's standard for country
songs to tell true stories, "Ford
Econoline" is somewhat unusual.
"That's one of my favorite songs
off the new album," Griffith com -
mented, "and it was written as a
fictional account of Rosalee Sorel's
great escape from Salt Lake City in
1963, with all of her kids and
everything, all piled into a van, and
leaving home. When I had just
finished writing the song, Rosalee
and I were doing a show at the
Great American Music Hall and
then Kate Wolf comes in. She heard
the song and came backstage and
said 'forget about Rosalee, this is
my story, but mine was a Dodge
van.' So it's really dedicated to both
Sorrel and Wolf, as well as
Huckster are great heroines and
influences for Griffith, who has
been listening to Patty Loveless,
"who's new on MCA and
absolutely terrific," as well as Steve
Earle and Christine Lavin.
Griffith also remains a voracious
reader and believes people who shun
reading are closing themselves off
from much of the world.
"Books are so important to
me....A lot of my audience is so
young and they don't read, and I
would think, they're missing so
much. Reading saved me from my
adolescence. It gave me the great
escape of going wherever I wanted
to or being whatever I wanted to for
that time, when I was sitting down
and reading, and using my imagin -
ation....Putting the books on the
cover (of her album) was so
important to me. If I could
influence just one young person to
go out and get a book, any book,
well that's an accomplishment."
Some of her favorite novels are
Lonesome Dove and Moving On
by Larry McMurty, and Ellen
Gilchrist's Drunk on Love.
"I'm looking forward to [being
in Ann Arbor",riffith continued. "I
just feel like I'm coming home.
You can see Nanci Griffith
tonight at the Ark, 637 South Main
Street. There will be two shows,
one at 7:30 p.m. and the second at
10 p.m. Tickets are $8.50 at the
.Songstress Nanci Griffith brings her true stories tinged with country and
*folk music to the Ark tonight for two shows, at 7:30 and 10:00.
Continued from Previous Page
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