Song of the Day #3,148: ‘My Boat’ – Tift Merritt

tift_stitch_worldI believe one reason fame has eluded Tift Merritt is that she’s too damn intellectual. I certainly don’t mean that as a criticism, but I can see how it limits her appeal.

Merritt is the ultimate NPR artist. She’s done a slew of Tiny Desk Concert-esque performances for a dozen audience members and a radio listenership probably not much larger. Her albums are lauded by crunchy granola whisperers like the ones Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon used to parody on SNL.

Track three on Stitch of the World is an example of Merritt’s intellectualism, as it is a slight rewording of a Raymond Carver poem set to music. You won’t find that on an Ariana Grande album.

‘My Boat’ has a beautiful message of inclusivity that feels welcome after 2016, when a lot of us relish the idea of fleeing the United States on a vessel like this.

My boat, is being made to order
Right now, it’s at the builder, my boat
My friends, room for all of my friends
I’m serious about this, my boatGeorge, Gary, Chuck and Jim, room enough for all of them
And my baby, on my boat

Stories, room on board for stories
My own and everybody’s, going on and on
Short ones, true ones, and the made up
The ones still being written on my boat

Cherries, chicken, cheese and wine, everything good my friends like
And my baby, on my boat

No one will be denied on my boat, on my boat
No getting ahead or falling behind on my boat, on my boat
Just having a real big time on my boat

Singing, eating and laughing down on my boat
You can do whatever you want, on my boat
We may go a little way down the coast on my boat
Listening to the The Rolling Stones on my boat

I’ve always wanted a trip like that –
But if it don’t work out with my boat, my boat

No one will be denied on my boat, on my boat
No getting ahead or falling behind on my boat, on my boat
Just having a real big time on my boat on my boat
No one will be denied on my boat, on my boat, on my boat

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4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,148: ‘My Boat’ – Tift Merritt

  1. Peter says:

    As I have read Raymond Chandler’s oeuvre more than once I am pretty sure that he didn’t write poems, but maybe Raymond Carver did 😎
    In Amsterdam she said that it wasn’t her intention to write a protest song, but in light of the actual political situation it would feel like one.

  2. Dana says:

    That’s an interesting theory and could arguably be applied to artists like Randy Newman, Fiona Apple, Lyle Lovett and even Elvis Costello. The limited number of hits these artists have had (relative to their output) were songs that dumbed it down just enough for mass consumption.

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