Once in a Very Blue Moon

Once in a Very Blue Moon

5.0 1
by Nanci Griffith
     
 

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Griffith really hits her stride on this accomplished, critically acclaimed full-on-country-folk-bluegrass third album -- originally released by Philo/Rounder in the mid-’80s and now digitally remastered for re-release. She lets loose in a fuller, huskier, freer voice that joyously cats around tracks coproduced by Jim Rooney and featuring stellar Nashville…  See more details below

Overview

Griffith really hits her stride on this accomplished, critically acclaimed full-on-country-folk-bluegrass third album -- originally released by Philo/Rounder in the mid-’80s and now digitally remastered for re-release. She lets loose in a fuller, huskier, freer voice that joyously cats around tracks coproduced by Jim Rooney and featuring stellar Nashville session players like acoustic guitarist Pat Alger, electric guitarist Phillip Donnelly, Dobro/pedal steel player Lloyd Green, mandolin/fiddle player Mark O’Connor, upright bassist Roy Huskey Jr., and percussionist Kenny Malone, plus banjo wizard Béla Fleck and backup vocalist/songwriter Lyle Lovett. Superb cover choices abound: the breathtakingly poignant lost-love-checking-in of the title track; Pat Alger’s “Once in a Very Blue Moon”; the bluegrass parents’-courtship dance of Bill Staines’s “Roseville Fair”; the hard-driving death-of-a-daredevil-motorcyclist epic of Richard Dobson’s “Ballad of Robin Winter-Smith”; and the gender-switched ironic country waltz of Lyle Lovett’s “If I Were the Woman You Wanted.” And Griffith’s own originals on the struggles of life and love are stronger and more complex than ever. The two opening tracks, a grand musing on the railroad (“soul of America’s pride”) and its builders (“Ghost in the Music”) and a hard-hitting country-swing lilt on love’s giving-lessons (“Love Is a Hard Waltz”), lead into the percolating saga of an up-from-their-roots middle-class black family (“Mary & Ornie”) and the propulsive anthem of travels that drive lives apart (“I’m Not Drivin’ These Wheels (Bring the Prose to the Wheel)”), as well as meditations like the lushly melodic “Friend Out in the Madness” and the rollicking pity-your-lover-died-young-but-you’ll-never-get-tired-of-living-alone advice of “Daddy Said.” In the end, like Nanci, you’ll feel like taking a real “Spin on a Red Brick Floor” too.--Janie Matthews

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Vik Iyengar
Nanci Griffith finds her voice on her third studio album, Once in a Very Blue Moon. This is the album where she established her musical identity -- she is at home in many genres (which perhaps explains why she never gets played on formatted radio stations), and seamlessly blends folk, bluegrass, and country with a group of stellar musicians, including guitarist Pat Alger and a young banjo player named Béla Fleck. While the music is well-textured with cello, mandolin, Dobro, and fiddle, it is Griffith's lyrics that distinguish her from her peers. Although not a concept album, the main theme explored is travel. She sings about the joys and excitement of the road as well as the longing that comes with extended periods away from home. Nanci Griffith is an excellent storyteller, with detailed, insightful lyrics that vividly portray the hopes and dreams of her characters ("Mary and Omie"). She sprinkles the album with songs of others, as she pays homage to folk veterans such as Bill Staines ("Roseville Fair") and sings a tune by newcomer Lyle Lovett ("If I Were the Woman You Wanted"). This album marks the emergence of a major talent.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/08/2002
Label:
Philo / Umgd
UPC:
0011671123325
catalogNumber:
711233

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nanci Griffith   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Pat Alger   Acoustic Guitar,Hi String
Lyle Lovett   Vocal Harmony
Lloyd Green   Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar
Mark Howard   Acoustic Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
John Catchings   Cello
Philip Donnelly   Electric Guitar,Bird Calls
Stephen Doster   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Béla Fleck   Banjo
Roy M. "Junior" Husky   Upright Bass
Kenny Malone   Percussion,Conga,Drums
Terry McMillan   Harmonica
Mark O'Connor   Fiddle,Mandolin,Violin,Mandola,Piccolo Mandolin
Ralph Vitello   Synthesizer,Piano
Roy Huskey   Bass,Upright Bass
Denice Franke   Vocals,Vocal Harmony

Technical Credits

Nanci Griffith   Producer,Cover Design
Jim Rooney   Producer
Philip Donnelly   Sound Effects
Marlin Griffith   Artwork,Graphic Design
Jack Grochmal   Engineer
Jack Miller   Contributor
Bill Narum   Cover Design
Wayne Miller   Executive Producer,Cover Photo

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