Picks and Pans Review: Blue Roses from the Moons

updated 06/02/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/02/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Nanci Griffith

Fans have patiently awaited Griffith's first album since Flyer, her literate 1994 collection of originals, and Other Voices, Other Rooms, her Grammy-winning 1993 tribute to folksingers. But Blue Roses from the Moons (comprised mostly of Griffith compositions), rarely reaches the heavens despite its fanciful title. Griffith's supple and expressive voice has always served her well, but here, with a few exceptions, it sounds lackluster and strained, disappearing at times behind the lush arrangements.

On "Gulf Coast Highway," however, a duet with Darius Rucker, the Hootie & the Blowfish singer's gravelly voice brings out Griffith's best. And her spine-chilling rendition of Guy Clark's "She Ain't Goin' Nowhere" demonstrates that all Griffith needs is to reach for the red roses at her feet rather than mythical flowers from the barren surface of the moon. (Elektra)

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