Music

Country and Folk Influencer Nanci Griffith Dies at Age 68

Screengrab via YouTube

Nanci Griffith, the Austin-raised and Nashville-based singer-songwriter whose work left an indelible mark on country, folk, and Americana music, has died at the age of 68.

Suzy Bogguss, whose 1991 album Aces begins with Griffith and Tom Russell co-write "Outbound Plane," confirmed the news Friday (Aug. 13) on Facebook.

"My heart is aching," Bogguss wrote. "A beautiful soul that I love has left this earth. I feel blessed to have many memories of our times together along with most everything she ever recorded. I'm going to spend the day reveling in the articulate masterful legacy she's left us. Rest my dear friend Nanci Griffith."

Griffith also wrote definitive Kathy Mattea hit "Love at the Five and Dime" and Dolly Parton deep cut "Once in a Very Blue Moon."

"I am so sad to learn of Nanci Griffith's passing," wrote Chely Wright on Twitter. "She and I spoke on the phone a few years ago and reminisced about an old Martin guitar of Harlan Howard's that he loaned to each us-- back and forth-- for years. Our shared stewardship will forever be a treasure to me."

Nanci Caroline Griffith was born on July 6, 1953, in Seguin, Texas. Her recording career began in the '70s and spanned genres, from folk to country music and what she self-described as "folkabilly."

Her run with MCA Records began in the late '80s with two albums she co-produced with country tastemaker Tony Brown: Lone Star State of Mind and Little Love Affairs.

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Despite her acclaim as a songwriter, one of Griffith's best-known recordings, "From a Distance," came from the pen of Julie Gold. Likewise, one of her most beloved albums, 1993's Other Voices, Other Rooms, is a Grammy award-winning collection of cover songs. Which goes to show that like so many of Griffith's talented peers, she shone at both songwriting and song interpreting.

Her vocal talents also lent themselves to duets with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, and the late John Prine.

No word yet on the cause of Griffith's death.

"It was Nanci's wish that no further formal statement or press release happen for a week following her passing," Gold Mountain Entertainment said in a statement (as quoted by The Associated Press).

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Country and Folk Influencer Nanci Griffith Dies at Age 68