Many of Nanci Griffith’s previous recorded high points have been cover versions (notably, her pair of Other Voices collections). But her new album is mostly self-penned and highly personal. It’s also one of her best.
An accompanying press release says the CD focuses largely on “familial relationships, breakups, being at a personal crossroads, great difficulties of a personal nature…” which made me expect something akin to . It’s not quite on a par with that, but there are some heartbreakers here, such as “Bad Seed,” a song about her poor relationship with her father. There’s also some political material, though some of it is easy to miss. (Without the press release, I never would have figured out that “Hell No (I’m Not Alright)” is an ode to the Occupy Wall Street Movement.)
There are a few misses—“Stranded in the High Ground” is plodding at best—but winners far outnumber losers on this collection. Such ballads and mid-tempo numbers as “Just Another Morning Here,” “Waiting on a Dark Eyed Gal” (by the late Ron Davies) “If I Could Only Fly” (by the late Blaze Foley) and the title track are moving statements of hard times and resilience. Throughout, Griffith’s voice is a glorious instrument.