(A Trip Back to Bountiful)
Nanci Griffith (Elektra)
Not only does this album benefit from the sweet growl of Griffith's sensuous voice, it also reflects her wondrous curiosity and eclectic tastes in music. This open house attitude isn't always a blessing, of course. Richard Thompson and his Celtic gloominess combine with Griffith to truly dreary effect on his song "Wall of Death." On the other hand, it's invigorating and heartwarming to hear Griffith sing songs by such varied composers as Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash and Guy Clark, as well as more obscure songwriters such as Tom Russell, Mickie Merkens and Sylvia Fricker, whose former singing partner in Ian & Sylvia, Ian Tyson, also contributed a song.
Tyson also adds his tangy voice to the recording, joining an illustrious group that includes Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Odetta, Jerry Jeff Walker, Susan Cowsill, Rodney Crowell and the gruff old folkie Dave Van Ronk. If this sounds like the country-folk equivalent of an all-star game, it plays that way too.
Bottom Line: Lovely, lively mix of generations and genres