Song of the Day #2,868: ‘Tender Branch’ – Tift Merritt

tift_another_countryAh, Tift Merritt. I find this woman’s voice, and her songwriting, as emotionally satisfying as pretty much any music I own. She exudes thoughtfulness and sensitivity, but with an underlying grittiness. Just sublime.

Today’s Random Weekend selection is the closing track of Merritt’s 2008 album, Another Country. She has been so consistently good that I can make an argument for that album being her best, her “worst” or anything in between.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #831: ‘Another Country’ – Tift Merritt

Top Ten Female Vocalists – #6 – Tift Merritt

Four of my the ten women on this list are tied to the country genre in one way or another. The first was Alison Krauss and now we have Tift Merritt. I’m not sure why the genre lends itself to this exercise… perhaps because country songs are more likely to feature the voice front and center while rock or pop, say, tend to bury the vocals in the mix?

At any rate, Merritt’s connection to country music is a tenuous one. Her 2002 debut, Bramble Rose, was her most country-influenced record but she quickly began to branch out. 2004’s Tambourine was nominated for a Best Country Album Grammy but was ironically more of a 60s soul record. 2008’s Another Country and this year’s See You On the Moon were even bigger departures, more in the vein of Carole King and Joni Mitchell.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #434: ‘Broken’ – Tift Merritt

merrittTift Merritt is the only artist in my collection who I’ve actually spoken to in person. At least I think so… and I guess if I met somebody famous and it made so little an impression on me that I can’t remember it anymore, it probably shouldn’t count anyway. But I certainly remember my encounter with Merritt, brief and innocuous as it was.

That momentary proximity to her is no doubt the biggest reason I find her so sexy. It makes her real in a way no other woman in my collection is real… and real is sexy. It also has a lot to do with the energy she brings to live performances and even more to do with her voice. She really is the total package in terms of songwriting chops, vocals and stage presence. I have no idea why she isn’t a big star.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #122: ‘Hopes Too High’ – Tift Merritt

tiftliveOK, so this blog is in danger of turning into a Tift Merritt Appreciation Web site, fine. Believe me, there are far worse things it could be.

I couldn’t resist going back to the well where I found the first of these record store clips and highlighting another great performance by Merritt from the same show as the last one.

Of all the videos I’m posting this week, this Tift Merritt show is the one I most wish I’d attended. And no, smart alecks, it’s not because she’s one of my Celebrity Girlfriends. I mean, I wouldn’t want to see Jennifer Garner or Connie Britton trying something like this.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #108: ‘Something to Me’ – Tift Merritt

tiftmerAh, Tift Merritt.

Here is one of those serendipitous finds you just have to chalk up to fate. I don’t know how or why I happened upon Merritt’s second album, Tambourine, a few years ago but it hit me like a freight train. Where had this woman been all my life?

Just a week or two later I got tickets to an Elvis Costello concert and who should be his opening act but… Tift Merritt. I was as excited to see her perform that night as the main act and she did not disappoint. She commanded the auditorium during her short set, jumping from keyboards to acoustic and electric guitar to the harmonica and showing off that wonderful voice — alternately gravelly soulful and crystalline pure.

Continue reading