Apr 24, 2021
Nanci Griffith got an early start on her path to performing and songwriting. At the age of 6 she began to write songs, thinking of it as “part of the process of learning how to play guitar.” While she doesn’t remember many of her earliest songs, she does recall that “the first original song my mother commented on…was a song about Timothy Leary.” Then at the age of 14, when a campfire turn at the Kerrville Folk Festival caught the ear of singer-songwriter Tom Russell, she was on her way. Having recorded 18 albums and performed concerts all over the world, it’s safe to say that she’s never looked back. Griffith's career has spanned a variety of musical genres, predominantly country, Folk, and what she terms "folkabilly." Griffith won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1994 for her recording, Other Voices, Other Rooms. This album features Griffith covering the songs of artists who are her major influences. One of her better-known songs is "From a Distance" by Julie Gold, although Bette Midler's version achieved greater commercial success. Similarly, other artists have occasionally achieved greater success with Griffith's songs than Griffith herself. For example, Kathy Mattea had a country music top five hit with a 1986 cover of Griffith's "Love at the Five and Dime," and Suzy Bogguss had one of her largest hits with Griffith's and Tom Russell's "Outbound Plane."
First broadcast in 1994, Tent Show Radio is a
one-hour public radio program created from the best live recordings
from acclaimed musical acts who grace the Big Top Chautauqua stage
each summer in beautiful Bayfield, WI. During intermission,
host Michael Perry spins a story “from the backstage dressing room,
with the one lonely little light bulb burning."
Topics range from Mike’s battles with trees, to the behavior
of rogue chickens, to the search for hope while stoking a wood
stove in the darkness. Running 52 weeks a year, Tent
Show Radio is broadcast on 31 listener supported radio stations
across 6 states and on most podcast streaming platforms. "Tent Show
Radio" is also available for streaming at www.tentshowradio.org.
Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua was founded in 1986. The first show under canvas was the Nelson-Ferris Concert Company Production Riding the Wind, the story of Bayfield and Madeline Island. Since then Big Top has welcomed over 700,000 patrons to the grounds for 2,000+ concerts and shows and countless lectures, workshops and other unique events. In addition to the action on the tent grounds, Big Top has also broadcast its performances over the public radio airwaves since 1994 through Tent Show Radio, bringing Big Top concerts into living rooms across the country and around the world via internet streaming and podcasts. Our resident band, the Blue Canvas Orchestra, also tours to theaters and schools throughout the Upper Midwest. Over the course of 30 years we’ve touched millions of lives and created millions of memories with our eclectic blend of excellent musical offerings.