In the halycon days of country music festivals when there was practically one every month here in Britain I remember attending the Peterborough festival and seeing what was probably Nanci Griffiths’ first appearance in Britain.
Although I enjoyed her set, I know there were many in the audience who wanted a ‘more authentic traditional country sound’,which in all fairness is very difficult with a single guitar and vocals that were not hard edged and powerful.
Perhaps if the same folk had heard her when she appeared a few month later with a full band at The Riverside venue in Newcastle they would have changed their minds as she raised the roof to an audience that were mainly students rather than hard core country appreciators.
If they had also taken on board the fact that when it comes to singer/songwriters she is one of the greats, they may have understood her performance better.
After all why pigeonhole an artist with a talent that crosses all the boundaries.
Her new album entitled The Loving Kind proves her talent on all fronts and shows why over those years she has gained thousands of fans on both sides of the pond and is respected and revered by many other well know musical fiqureheads.
This latest album, which skillfully touches on newsworthy issues as well as matters of the heart, proves that such a writing style can capture life at its most complex.
The title track sets the tone, telling the true story of how love triumphed over a social injustice that prevailed in the United States until 1967.Mildred and Richard Loving were a mixed-race couple who were put in jail when they married in 1958, but their case eventually reached the Supreme Court, where state laws against interracial marriage were struck down. “I read Mildred Loving’s obituary in The New York Times and it just floored me,” says Griffith. “She never remarried after Richard died and in her last interview before she passed she expressed hope that their case, Loving v. Virginia, would eventually be the open door to same sex marriage.”.
This is just one song that champions what is to follow with Nanci having written nine of the offerings complimented by four covers that she particularly likes.
Her ‘live’ shows are a treat and if you have not as yet had the Nanci Griffith experience you can catch up with her with her only North East appearance when she appears at The Sage Gateshead on February 8th.
Her new album is sheer class honed with that special Nanci Griffith ‘magic’ and worthy of a place in any musical appreciators collection.
Tickets are available from the box office by calling 0191 443 4661.
Nanci Griffith The Loving Kind Rounder Records
Star Rating 9/10
Click below for a sample listen