It is a proven fact. It is a distinguished truth. It is Holy Writ. It is absolutely impossible to hear Nanci Griffith’s version of “Across the Great Divide” for the first time and not immediately ask who it is singing, which is quickly followed by, “I like it.”
Seriously, I have played it for die hard rockers, Deadheads, jazz aficionados, and even my uncle who hasn’t listened to music since the Hoover administration and they have all, without fail, said the same words. The song is that good.
The rest of the album, Other Voice, Other Rooms follows suit. It’s brilliant in its conception and perfect in performance. It is essentially Nanci, performing her favorite songs with her favorite performers (who also happen to usually be the writers of those songs.)
Like a number of my now favorite performers, I came to Nanci through the BMG music club. You know the drill, get 10 CDs for a penny and then agree to buy a few more at regular club prices. The thing with BMG is that they have lots of sales, and so their regular club prices come out not so bad. I’ve done this scores of times over the years, sign up, complete the deal, cancel and then sign up again. It was a great way to broaden my music collection without spending a fortune.