September 10, 2001 12:00 PM

Nanci Griffith (Elektra)

The title song, borrowed from novelist Carson McCullers, suggests an artist who churns out self-indulgent material that can’t be read by anyone. But if Nanci Griffith remains enigmatic, she is far from prosaic. “Cotton,” for instance, picks up phrases from “Dixie” yet seems to be about romance, not the Civil War. “Traveling Through This Part of You” alludes to Vietnam but only hints at its theme: that women don’t understand men’s experience in that war. (Griffith’s ex-husband, songwriter Eric Taylor, is a veteran.)

Griffith is-more direct in “Pearl’s Eye View,” a lively tribute to female combat photographer Dickey Chapelle, who fell in Vietnam in 1965. And she gracefully resurrects John Stewart’s “Armstrong,” a tribute to Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing.

Bottom Line: A one-woman Woodstock ’01

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