Nanci Griffith's The Last of the True Believers: A Folk-Country Classic
Nanci Griffith is an American singer-songwriter who has been praised for her distinctive voice and poetic lyrics. She is known for blending folk and country music styles, and for covering songs by other artists such as Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and Townes Van Zandt. One of her most acclaimed albums is The Last of the True Believers, released in 1986 by Philo Records.
The Last of the True Believers is Griffith's fourth studio album, and the one that earned her a contract with a major label, MCA Records. The album features 11 songs written or co-written by Griffith, except for \"St. Olav's Gate\" by Tom Russell. The album showcases Griffith's storytelling skills and her ability to capture the emotions and experiences of ordinary people. Some of the songs are based on her own life, such as \"Love at the Five and Dime\", which tells the story of her parents' courtship, and \"The Wing and the Wheel\", which is a tribute to her grandfather who was a pilot.
The album also includes two songs that were later recorded by Kathy Mattea and became hits: \"Love at the Five and Dime\" and \"Goin' Gone\". The latter song was Griffith's first number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart as a songwriter. The album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album at the 29th Annual Grammy Awards, and was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
The album cover features several references to the songs, such as a couple dancing behind Griffith in front of a Woolworth's store, as described in \"Love at the Five and Dime\". The male dancer is Lyle Lovett, who also sings harmony vocals on the album. The man standing at far left is John T. Davis, a music writer for the Austin American-Statesman. Griffith is holding books by southern writers Tennessee Williams and Larry McMurtry on the front and back cover respectively.
The Last of the True Believers is widely regarded as one of Griffith's best albums, and a classic of folk-country music. It showcases her talent as a songwriter, singer, and storyteller, and her influence on other artists in the genre.
Griffith was born in Seguin, Texas, in 1953, and grew up in Austin. She started playing guitar and writing songs at an early age, and was influenced by folk singers such as Joan Baez and Judy Collins. She performed at local clubs and coffeehouses, and released her first album, There's a Light Beyond These Woods, in 1978. She moved to Nashville in 1985, and became part of the progressive country scene. She collaborated with other songwriters and musicians such as Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris, John Prine, and Steve Earle.
Griffith's career took off after the release of The Last of the True Believers, and she signed with MCA Records in 1987. She released several albums with the label, such as Lone Star State of Mind, Little Love Affairs, Storms, and Late Night Grande Hotel. She also recorded two albums with the Blue Moon Orchestra, a group of musicians who accompanied her on tour. She won her first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1994 for Other Voices, Other Rooms, an album of cover songs by her favorite songwriters.
Griffith continued to record and tour throughout the 1990s and 2000s, releasing albums such as Flyer, Dust Bowl Symphony, Clocks and Spoons, Hearts in Mind, Ruby's Torch, and The Loving Kind. She also participated in several projects and causes, such as the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, Artists Against Apartheid, and the Woody Guthrie Foundation. She was inducted into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008.
Griffith announced her retirement from touring in 2019, after being diagnosed with cancer for the third time. She died on August 13, 2021, at the age of 68. She is survived by her partner Robert Stegall, her daughter Brittany Griffith Marlin, and her grandson Ryland Marlin. She is remembered as one of the most influential and beloved singer-songwriters of her generation, and a pioneer of folk-country music. aa16f39245