Nanci Griffith: Dress of Laces
The well-worn metaphor of a well-worn dress speaks to the weary heart of a girl desperate for love from an absentee father and a debauching mother; I won't give away the ending, but I will say that the moral here seems to be that laces let to wear too thin can snap -- revealing, too late, that which would have kept us from an inevitably rash and regretful end.
The song, written and originally recorded by relatively under-the-radar Texas singer-songwriter Saylor White, was given life on a national scale with the release of Other Voices, Too (A Trip Back to Bountiful), Nanci Griffith's second of two bestselling all-coversong tributes to her musical influences and peers. No less an authority than the oft-cited Oxford American Magazine included Griffith's gorgeous countryfolk ballad on their yearly Southern Sampler way back in 1998, and I think it bears repeating. With Lyle Lovett on harmony vocals for that perfect finishing touch.