This is Nanci Griffith's fourth and final release on Rounder Records' folk subsidiary, Philo. At the time Griffith relocated to Nashville, TN, her decidedly Texan sense of musicality had already begun developing subtle hues of Appalachia as well as the cosmopolitan country that would inform her mid- to late-'80s stint on MCA. However, it is the overwhelming strength and conviction in the singer/songwriter's original material on The Last of the True Believers that remain indelibly impressed upon enthusiasts and critics alike. As such, Griffith has retained a copious sampling from the disc in her subsequent live performance repertoire. Griffith's crystalline vocals are well matched to the warm, earthy acoustic instrumentation on the intimate "More Than a Whisper" and "The Wing and the Wheel." At times, the delicate interplay creates a mutual envelopment of the human vocal instrument with that of the stringed nature -- most notably on the heartfelt "Love at the Five and Dime." By way of contrast, Griffith defies her somewhat introverted image on the tongue-in-cheek (no pun!) love song "Looking for the Time (Workin' Girl)" and the effervescent waltz "Love's Found a Shoulder." Lying nestled between are spry melodies such as "Banks of the Pontchartrain," featuring some nice picking from Béla Fleck (banjo), and "Goin' Gone," which perfectly captures some of Lloyd Green's finest pedal steel work on the disc. Griffith's pure and otherwise unaffected performance style would continue to carry through her subsequent efforts, most notably Lone Star State of Mind (1987), which in many ways is a companion, rather than simply the follow-up, to The Last of the True Believers.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer