Tributes are pouring in for Nanci Griffith, the singer/songwriter whose blend of folk music and country provided an early blueprint for Americana. She died on Friday at the age of 68.

“Today I am just sad, man,” Darius Rucker wrote on Facebook. “I lost one of my idols. One of the reasons I am in Nashville. She blew my mind the first time I heard 'Mary & Omie.' And singing with her was one of my favorite things to do.”

Dave Alvin wrote on Facebook: “She was a very smart songwriter, a heartbreaking singer, a sweet friend and a deeply complex artist on par with the best. Nanci was also a passionate fighter for working folks and innocent victims of landmines/war crimes around the world.”

Mindy Smith posted: “I have been and will be forever grateful for her beautiful music, influence, pioneering spirit… for that phone call all those years ago inviting me to sit down for some one-on-one time, knowing I might need some encouragement being a newbie in this town. Hearing the voice of one of my heroes and biggest influences on the other end of the line and that visit still seem so surreal.”

Dar Williams wrote “Nanci, thank you for inspiring and believing in all of us.”

In her tribute, HITS Nashville correspondent Holly Gleason writes: "Just as important as her O. Henry character sketches and embrace of the postcards and polaroids that make up a life, the woman with a mouth like a bow conjured a tenderness that permeated her songs. Love was sometimes perfect and attained; occasionally flawed and wild. But as often, it was failed and someone – usually the woman – was leaving, frustrated, sad, but never beaten by what had transpired."

Gold Mountain Entertainment announced her death, acceding to her wish that no formal statement or press release be issued for “a week following her passing.” Over the years, she'd suffered through two bouts of cancer and a case of Dupuyten’s contracture that limited the mobility of her fingers. She released her 18th and final studio album, Intersection, in 2012.

A Grammy winner for her 1993 album, Other Voices, Other Rooms, Griffith gave up teaching kindergarten to pursue performing and songwriting after winning a songwriting award at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. She made four folk albums, beginning in 1978, before moving to Nashville in 1985, where she signed with MCA Nashville.

The first hit she wrote was “Love at the Five and Dime,” but it was Kathy Mattea’s version that went to #3 on the country chart in 1986.

Griffith made four country albums for MCA before moving to Elektra, where her music took a turn toward her Texas roots. Other Voices, Other Rooms was composed of songs by artists who'd influenced her, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine and Bob Dylan among them.

Prine’s widow, Fiona Whelan Prine, wrote on Facebook, “Nanci and John had a real affection for each other; both enjoyed their Major cigarettes from Ireland; they had the same sense of goofy humor; and he regarded her as a kindred spirit because they both saw and wrote about the experiences of everyday men and women of the heartland. This is a sad day for our music community, and for Nashville. It gives me comfort to know that John had reached out to Nanci in January 2020. He missed her. He tried to persuade her that there were young women who needed her—her experience, friendship, humor and the gift of her singular craft. She was amazed to hear him say those things and said she’d think about it. They spoke one more time before John passed in April.”

Griffith's band, The Blue Moon Orchestra, held fast for more than a decade as she released another five albums on Elektra through 2001, famously connecting the music of Ireland with the music of her youth in the Lone Star State.

The Americana Music Association gave her a Lifetime American Trailblazer Award in 2008.

In a Facebook post, Mary Gauthier recalled a party during her first year of living in Nashville. A song circle formed that included Guy Clark, Lyle Lovett and Griffith, who asked Gauthier to sing.

“I was absolutely thrilled when she invited me to play," Gauthier wrote. "I sat in the chair she offered, took her guitar into my hands and played ‘Our Lady of the Shooting Stars.’ The other songwriters closed their eyes and nodded as I played; some smiled. No wild applause, no pyrotechnics when the song ended. But the smiles and nods made me feel like I belonged. I still had a long way to go, but joining that circle was validation that moving to Nashville had been a good decision. Holding my own in that circle of songwriters whose records I owned and whose careers I followed gave me confidence. Being around songwriters I deeply admired humanized them and made the star I was reaching for feel less distant. When I was done, I handed Nanci her guitar back. She shook her head and said, ‘Keep it.’ I froze, holding her engraved, signature sunburst Taylor 612 cutaway guitar in mid-air, question marks in both of my eyes. ‘It’s yours,’ she said. ‘When I moved to Nashville, Harlan Howard gave me his guitar. I’m giving you mine.’ I was speechless but somehow found the courage to say, ’Will you sign it?’ She signed, ‘For Mary, because YOU WILL sing.’ RIP Nanci, and thank you. Your guitar is in my hands right now. I play it, remember your kindness, your music and the influence you had in my life, and I cry.”