Nanci Griffith is one of the finest singer/songwriters around. She writes with humour, vision, and human universality. While much country music can be intensely American and too self-referential for British/European tastes, Griffith has the ability to sing and write locally but communicate globally.
She communicates with extraordinary clarity ... though her diction and emotions could hardly be less rooted in Texas. This, as a 20 year retrospective of her work, could hardly be a more mature production. Taking a country / folk tradition and exposing it to the classical assertiveness and precision of the London Symphony Orchestra must have been an at times daunting experience. Griffith carries it off with aplomb and passion.
Her voice can sound quite subdued and intimate at times, but here she's in control - these are her words, her songs (mostly), and the orchestra can recognise a quality musician and forthright professional when it sees one.
Recorded at the Abbey Road studios, Griffith saw this as an opportunity to revisit the themes and emotions of growing up in the Texas dust bowl. Welding an orchestral score to her songs fulfils this vision by adding musical depth and expansiveness to her work, echoing that vast, overwhelming sense of place.
This is a superb recording, emphatic without being self-reverential, expansive without dissipating emotion, and a highly effective blend of musical styles and traditions.