Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hell No (I'm Not Alright) - Nanci Griffith in Charlottesville

Nanci Griffith performed in front of an appreciative crowd at Charlottesville's historic and beautiful Paramount Theater last night. The singer/songwriter, sang a few songs off her just released album, Intersection, but the show was dominated by classics like "Love At the Five and Dime," "The Flyer,"John Prine's "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness," and "Trouble in These Fields." As always, her version of Julie Gold's often recorded "From a Distance" simply has no peer. Performing a set of their own and then joining Griffith were The Kennedys.

Introducing her award winning "The Loving Kind," Griffith showed obvious admiration for Mildred and Richard Loving, the courageous couple who brought an end to the Commonwealth's anti-miscegenation laws in the landmark case Loving v. Virginia, 1967. As Griffith's lyrics remind us, "they changed the heart of my nation...." I can't imagine I was the only one reflecting on how today's politicians still want to peek into our bedrooms and tell us what we can do in our personal lives.

Her only encore was the upbeat "Hell No (I'm Not Alright)" which is building a large fan base in both Europe and U.S. and has become sort of an unofficial anthem of the Occupy Movement. Even some bankers claim it - in the long tradition of conservative politicians taking liberal songwriters' words and music to further their policies and campaigns.

Learn more about a too-little-known national treasure, Nanci Griffith, the singer/songwriter who builds deep connections with people from her place on high ground in this interview (you can even learn what bumper sticker she has on her truck). If you aren't familiar with the Loving case check out the 2012 HBO documentary, The Loving Story. Nanci Griffith reminds us that while everything seems beautiful "from a distance," we live life up close with greed, hate, and prejudice. It is up to each of us to listen to the "better angels of our nature" and make our communities and world a place fit for all of us.

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