Rosanne Cash, Daughter of Johnny Cash, Honors Nanci Griffith With Tribute, Throwback Video

by Matthew Memrick
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Rosanne Cash is among the latest country music stars to pay tribute to country-folk singer Nanci Griffith, who died on Aug. 6. 

The daughter of late musician Johnny Cash, shared a YouTube.com performance with Griffith and Mary Chapin Carpenter in New York City in the 1990s.

Cash said the Bottom Line performance was part of a “songwriter-in-the-round show.”

Nanci Griffith also performed “Trouble in the Fields” with Maura O’Connell. The 1987 song was part of Griffith’s “Lone Star State of Mind” albumHer folk songs flowed with social commentary like “Trouble in the Fields,” as it spoke to the hardships of rural farmers in the 1980s.

News of the 68-year old singer/guitarist/songwriter’s death made the rounds a week later on Friday. Her management company confirmed that Griffith died in Nashville, among the few details.

“Nanci’s wish that no further formal statement or press release happen for a week following her passing,” Gold Mountain Entertainment said in a statement.

Griffith Known For Her Folk, Country Songs

A longtime performer on “Austin City Limits,” the Texas native performed with numerous acts, including John Prine, Arlo Guthrie, Darius Rucker, and Guy Clark. At one point, she even had a backing band called the Blue Moon Orchestra.

Nanci Griffith won a 1994 Grammy Award for her folk album titled “Other Voices, Other Rooms.”

She was instrumental in many early careers, including Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris.

Her last studio album, Intersection, came in 2013. It was her 20th overall.

Griffith’s Hits Became Blockbusters For Many

One of her songs, “From A Distance,” found significant success with singer Bette Midler. Nanci Griffith sang the song in 1987 while Midler performed a cover of it five years later.

The following year, Midler won a 1991 Grammy Award for Best Song of the year with her version.

According to songwriter Julie Gold’s Songfacts.com interview, Griffith called her on May 5, 1986, to see if she could record the song. The two traded phone calls (Griffith was living in Ireland at the time) and worked to put together the hit. She would later recount that Griffith was the first to record any of her songs and did others. 

Besides Midler, other artists took Griffith’s work and achieved more considerable success than she did. 

In 1986, Kathy Mattea covered Nanci Griffith’s “Love at the Five and Dime,” which she recorded the year before. In 1991, Suzy Bogguss scored a Top 10 hit with the 1988 Griffith-Tom Russell hit “Outbound Plane.”

On Instagram, Boggus recounted her time with Nanci Griffith.

“I feel blessed to have many memories of our times together along with most everything she ever recorded. I’m going to spend the day reveling in the articulate masterful legacy she’s left us,” Bogguss said.

Outsider.com