American singer, guitarist, and songwriter Nanci Griffith passed away today (Friday, Aug. 13). She was 68.
Born Nanci Caroline Griffith in Austin, Texas, Griffith became known for her unique version of country-folk music.
She released over 20 albums, perhaps most notably her 1993 project Other Voices, Other Rooms, which consisted entirely of cover songs, in tribute to songwriters who influenced her own songwriting. Other Voices, Other Rooms earned a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1994.
As a songwriter, some of Griffith’s greatest hits include Kathy Mattea’s cover of “Love at the Five and Dime” and Suzy Bogguss’s hit with “Outbound Plane.”
Griffith was awarded the Kate Wolf Memorial Award by the World Folk Music Association in 1995, and in 2008 the Americana Music Association awarded her its Lifetime Achievement Trailblazer Award. Most recently Griffith was invited to be a member of the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Association’s Hall of Fame. She was to be inducted in February of 2022.
“Nanci Griffith was a master songwriter who took every opportunity to champion kindred spirits, including Vince Bell, Elizabeth Cook, Iris DeMent, Julie Gold, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Eric Taylor and Townes Van Zandt,” said Kyle Young, CEO, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “Her voice was a clarion call, at once gentle and insistent. Her brilliant album The Last of the True Believers is a template for what is now called Americana music, and her Grammy-winning Other Voices, Other Rooms is a compelling guide to 20th-century folk songs. Nanci offered gifts that no one else could give.”
Griffith is a survivor of breast cancer which was diagnosed in 1996, and thyroid cancer in 1998.
Her death was confirmed by her management company, Gold Mountain Entertainment. A cause of death was not provided.
Memorial services have not yet been announced.
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