Nanci Griffith is sentimental about the photo in her new blue US passport. When her old passport was due to expire, she was in Houston. She happened to walk past the Woolworth store where the cover photograph for her album Last of the True Believers had been shot. Knowing she needed a new passport picture, she ducked in and used the photo booth.

The prettiest stamp in Nanci's passport is from Norway, where she toured in 1995 to promote her album Flyer. Rather aptly, the stamp depicts a little row of houses with an aeroplane flying above. Nanci's old passport is stuffed full of stamps - Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Heathrow, the Republic of Ireland. She has travelled the world since she was 24, when she gave up teaching to concentrate on her music career. The first trip she made out of the US was to Ireland in 1986. She had recorded the song "From a Distance" and was asked to do a television show called The Session. She had no idea the song was a hit this side of the ocean, and the overwhelming reception she got in Ireland was a great surprise. She says: "When I started playing and people knew my song, I thought, 'This is wild!'"

A Glasgow stamp brings back unpleasant memories for Nanci. She was travelling with her crew and the band, the Blue Moon Orchestra, from Chicago to Glasgow, and due to pick up a flight to Aberdeen where they were to start a tour. The flight from Chicago was a long one - eight hours - and everyone apart from Nanci and the keyboard player James Hooker had too much to drink. When the party arrived at Glasgow airport they found that their flight to Aberdeen was cancelled, and that the only alternative transport was coach. James and Nanci managed to get the unruly bunch on board only to find there was no toilet and the heating was stuck on. Too hot, suffering from jet lag and over indulgence, the band and crew were all ill at the back of the coach.

Nanci and the band have just celebrated 10 years together. When they are out on tour they like to take out the tour bus to see the sights. For example, when they were in Ireland they all went to see Giant's Causeway, which Nanci thinks is one of the wonders of the world. "One of the perks of being a musician is that we do get to do all this travelling and it would be miserable if we didn't take advantage of it. We run in a pack and have a lot of fun," says Nanci, laughing. "Unless the band have been drinking!"

t Nanci Griffith has just released a new album, Blue Roses From the Moons and will tour the UK in April and May.



Nanci Griffith


6 July 1954