With her first recording of new tunes since 2001, singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith returns in fine form with the graceful and quietly wise "Hearts in Mind," a collection of story songs with an underly

With her first recording of new tunes since 2001, singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith returns in fine form with the graceful and quietly wise "Hearts in Mind," a collection of story songs with an underlying anti-war theme. It's her 15th studio album of literate lyrics and indelible melodies rendered with honeyed vocals reminiscent of late folk songstress Kate Wolf. There are the obvious peace sentiments (the twangy pop opening track "Simple Life" and the sober "Big Blue Ball of War") as well as Vietnam War reminders ("Heart of Indochine" and "Old Hanoi"). While Griffith plays the country card on several tunes, she also shows her range, from her jazz-vibed "Beautiful" (with clarinet support and an uncharacteristic scat-like vocal whoop) to Clive Gregson's buoyant shoop-shoop pop ditty "I Love This Town" with Jimmy Buffett on guest vocals.—DO

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