I’ve heard Merritt compared to a host of artists. Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Sheryl Crow. One recent reviewer wrote that she lives at the midpoint between Emmylou Harris and Joni Mitchell, a description I like. Many write-ups of today’s SOTD compare her vocals to Dolly Parton.
My feeling is that six studio albums into a career that has spanned country, folk, blues and rock, Merritt has carved out her own niche and earned the right to not be described in terms of other people. I suppose that’s a by-product of a lack of fame.
For those of us who know her well, ‘Heartache is an Uphill Climb’ is quintessential Tift Merritt. It’s quiet and intimate before morphing into something hopeful and expansive, a celebration that starts off like an elegy.
How does the pride forget the fight?
The one that laid it down so low
The one still throwing tall shadows
Tell me, tell me
I heard that it was step by step
That it takes time, time, time
The going it is slow, slow, slow
Heartache is an uphill climb
A broken heart holds only fear
What I told mine through my tears
Whatever it is that you feel
You must be bigger than this hill best be bigger than this hill
Believe me. believe me
So I went step by step…
Uphill, steep steep steep
I got a lot in front of me
I’ll never make it there to see
If I am carrying your memory
So I go to go step by step….