Live and in concert, 2002.
Singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith has been moving audiences for years with her poetic lyrics and bittersweet voice. Recorded and filmed at the historic Tennessee Theater in Knoxville, Tennessee, on May 29th, 2002, this first-ever DVD released concert features some of Griffith's best known songs, including "I Wish It Would Rain," "Home of the Radio," Pete Seeger's "If I Had a Hammer," "Last Train Home," and many others. Along with her band mates, Griffith is also joined by special guests Emmylou Harris, Tom Russell, and Andrew Hardin. Nanci Griffith: Winter Marquee is now available on DVD care of Rounder Records.
For someone who owns a few of Nanci Griffith's albums, I sure don't know a whole lot about the singer's personal life. While browsing her official website (linked at right), I learned that the prolific artist has made well over 12 albums since 1978. I personally own "Blue Roses from the Moon," a collection of often simple, moving songs featuring "Gulf Coast Highway" (a duet with Hootie and the Blowfish lead singer Darius Rucker), a captivating song that is also included on this disc. Watching Nanci Griffith: Winter Marquee, I can see why so many fans are drawn to this diminutive, talented, soft-spoken woman—she has a grace and beauty in her voice that is often missing in today's processed, pre-packaged music scene (note to the Backstreet Boys: your 15 minutes were up two years ago). For those who are unacquainted with Griffith, this disc is a wonderful way to discover the magic of her music. Such songs as "The Flyer" and "Traveling Through This Part of You" are dreamy, sometimes melancholy melodies that will be well worth hearing time and time again. I love concerts like this—there are no Kiss-like light shows or heavy theatrics. The base of the show is good music played by a passionate band. Like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Steve Earle, and other singer/songwriters, Griffith's music is often simple and sweet yet filled with complex characters and vivid stories. For those looking to learn more about her music, Nanci Griffith: Winter Marquee will be an excellent place to start.
Nanci Griffith: Winter Marquee is presented in a pleasing 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Rounder has done a very presentable job of making sure this disc is free of any major defects or imperfections. While a few minor flaws show up, this is more an inherent problem with a live performance than the concert's transfer. Colors and black levels are all detailed and sharp, making this disc a must have for fans. The soundtrack is presented in what appears to be Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English (no mention is made on either the packaging or the disc). The soundtrack works well within the confines of the performance—the music is crystal clear with all speakers engaged (if sometimes only lightly). Overall Rounder has done a fine job on both the video and audio portions of this disc.
Sadly, when it comes to supplements, Nanci Griffith: Winter Marquee is lacking; except for some "scene selections," there isn't a single extra feature to be found on this disc.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Rounder Records
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