The last seven years must have been frustrating for Nanci Griffith fans as they watched the folk/country star devote her time to charity work and endless touring. On the evidence of her belated new album however, the lay-off from recording has done Griffith the world of good. Instead of coming across as a precocious little girl, she now reveals herself as a mature woman of intelligence and dignity with a wealth of experience to fuel her songwriting. Love songs dominate but they're refreshingly free from sentimentality and a couple of anti-war narratives are handled with great skill and empathy. If there's any justice, Clock Without Hands will gain Griffith a whole new generation of admirers.