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.
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.
Last year around this time I posted a song-by-song consideration of Lucinda Williams’ latest album, The Ghosts of Highway 20. It wasn’t exactly applauded by my regular readers, though I did get at least one staunch Williams fan defending me.
That defense came in a comment on a song by another favorite artist of mine, Tift Merritt, and earlier in the thread the same person broke the news that Merritt would release a new album in early 2017.
While we wait patiently for Beck’s 13th studio album, his first since 2014’s Grammy-winning Morning Phase, let’s enjoy a blast from the past in the form of ‘Peaches & Cream,’ a cut from his 1999 album Midnite Vultures.
Midnite Vultures, released in the midst of Y2K paranoia, before we lost our national innocence on 9/11, is a blissed-out vision of white boy funk on which Beck very effectively channels Prince.
When I saw that my final blog entry on the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll was to be a rap song by YG (feat. Nipsey Hussle), I was bummed. I’ve seen enough of these generic party anthems held up as great art.
But then I read that the song’s title ‘FDT,’ stands for “Fuck Donald Trump” and I realized, regardless of the song’s quality, we couldn’t have a finer closing song for this series.
I featured an Angel Olsen song on the blog back in March of 2014 and didn’t give her another thought until she showed up on this year’s Pazz & Jop poll at #12 on the albums list and #13 on the singles list.
Olsen is a St. Louis-born singer-songwriter who reminds me a bit of Courtney Barnett. 2016’s My Woman is her fourth full-length release.