Nanci Griffith, the Grammy Award-winning folk and country singer-songwriter known for songs such as ‘Love at the Five’ and ‘Dime and From a Distance’, has died at 68. Her management, Gold Mountain Entertainment, confirmed her death in a statement on Friday afternoon, but did not provide a cause of death. “It was Nanci’s wish that no further formal statement or press release happen for a week following her passing,” they stated.
Griffith was born July 6, 1953, in Seguin, Texas in Seguin, Texas and raised in Austin, where she began playing local gigs and wrote her first song, ‘A New Generation’, at age 12. After attending the University of Texas, she began working as a teacher before pursuing music full-time. In 1978, she released her debut album, There’s A Light Beyond These Woods, which won a songwriting prize at the Kerrville Folk Festival. She moved to Nashville in the early ’80s, where she became a close collaborator of other folk artists including Suzy Bogguss, Kathy Mattea, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, and Dolly Parton. Her 1994 album Other Voices, Other Rooms won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
Griffith scored her first hit as an artist with a cover of Julie Gold’s ‘From a Distance’, which became an even bigger hit for Bette Midler in 1990. Her music became increasingly political with age; her 2009 record The Loving Kind featured pointed criticisms of George W. Bush, and she described her 18th and final studio LP, 2012’s Intersection, as “a protest album.” “It was nice to focus on things outside of my body,” she said in an interview in 2010, “and music has always done that for me.”
Griffith was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Trailblazer Award by the Americana Music Association in 2008. This past July, it was announced that she was among the incoming class of the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame.