Blue Roses From The Moons

Nanci Griffith

Elektra, 1997

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


[Adapted from a review originally appearing in On The Town magazine on April 29, 1997]

Country-folk is one of the more well-defined genres around; think a loose association of traveling poets with guitars, singing songs that veer from social commentary to sly romanticism to unburdening confessionals in a style that's in more recent times often become equal parts quietly intense troubadour and precision pop craftswoman. Gillian Welch and Mary Chapin Carpenter fit the bill. And so does Nanci Griffith.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The elfin-voiced Griffith (who on high notes occasionally sounds as if she's been consuming mass quantities of helium) has—deservedly—developed quite a cult following over the many years she's been working the playhouse circuit. "Everything's Comin' Up Roses" typifies her appeal, kicking off the album with an infectiously upbeat tune that's tinged with ironic sadness. The narrator admiringly quotes the optimism her grandfather (Griffith's?) passed down to her—before the farmland he had worked for years was paved into a strip mall.

From there through the dreamy bounce of "Wouldn't That Be Fine" the contemplative whisper of "Saint Teresa of Avila" and the bluesy duet/remake of her own "Gulf Coast Highway" with Darius Rucker (a.k.a. Hootie), Griffith adeptly spins tales of quiet hope under the duress of everyday life. In a nice nod to her rockabilly roots, she brings in several of the surviving Crickets (as in "Buddy Holly and") for support on tunes that include lead Cricket Sonny Curtis's solo hit "I Fought the Law." Here's a musician who knows from whence she came, and appreciates the fact.

Griffith first came to my attention as mentor to the pair of young musicians who became The Kennedys; they learned well, and from a master, as Blue Roses From The Moons reminded us once again.

Rating: B+

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