Nanci Griffith

Hailed by Rolling Stone as "the Queen of Folkabilly," Griffith is a Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter. She and Rosalie have toured together and Nanci wrote a song, "Ford Econoline," that was based loosely on Rosalie's life on the road. Rosalie opened for Nanci at a concert in Boise in 2005.

nanci griffith

Q: Do you remember when you first heard Rosalie's voice?
A: Many years before I met her. A dear friend of mine, we were huge fans of the "Travelin' Lady'" record. I wore mine out on vinyl for sure.

Q: What about Rosalie's voice did that for you?
A: Nobody's voice sounds like that. She's so unique. She's her own genre. She's just Rosalie Sorrels and the minute she opens her mouth and the notes come out you know it's her.

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Q: What was it like touring together?
A: We had great fun. The first tour we did was in Nina Gerber's Ford Econoline. Nina Gerber the guitar player extraordinaire. Rosalie is funny on the road. She was asleep in a bunk in the back of the van. We went through some place in Northern California called Pantyhose Junction. We decided we would stop and see what Pantyhose Junction is and trying to wake Rosalie up and see if she wanted to go in and get something to eat and see what it was all about. And Rosalie said there is no place called Pantyhose Junction. So we said, we'll show you.

"She's so unique. She's her own genre. She's just Rosalie Sorrels and the minute she opens her mouth and the notes come out you know it's her."

We went in and it was definitely something out of a Fellini film. They had cigarette lighters and matches and t-shirts and caps. We just bought every piece of memorabilia we could find and placed them on Rosalie's bunk so when she woke up in the morning she said, there really is a Pantyhose Junction.

Q: Talk about "Ford Econoline," the song you wrote about Rosalie.
A: It's a thumbnail biography of Rosalie Sorrels and Kate Wolf and combining their stories. .[T]hey had both, Kate and Rosalie, had fled some abusive husbands in a vehicle that the abusive husband had been stupid enough to purchase for them. I've known what it's like to need that vehicle and I wanted to write something that is reinforcing to people who are considering leaving an abusive situation, and it's my way of giving them the keys to the ignition. Rosalie and Kate were both great inspirations for me as a young woman growing up in Texas and knowing that I needed to get out.

nanci griffith

Q: And so you felt inspired by Rosalie?
A: Always. A great hero.

Q: What is Rosalie's style?
A: I think Rosalie has done a brilliant job of combining all the genres that have influenced her, from traditional music, country music, to left-winged country music like Utah Phillip's songs. She's just done a great job of combining all of that.

In my own music, I'm a combo of Woodie Guthrie, Buddy Holly, the Crickets and Loretta Lynn; and you mix Rosalie and Kate in there, and you pull out Nanci Griffith.