Tift Merritt – Traveling Alone

January 01, 1970

(Yep Roc)

 

www.yeproc.com

 

As the title of her Yep Roc
full-length debut suggests, Merritt is something of a wanderer. Her songs are
populated with individuals who have “a taste for traveling alone,” “driving
without destination” and admitting “I’m still not home.”

 

“Sweet Spot,” a superb and central
track here, reveals not only her lyrical themes of searching and longing, but
also nicely encapsulates the musical “sweet spot” Merritt and returning
producer Tucker Martine achieve here. Merritt sounds relaxed and confident
throughout the disc. Her alluring county-soul vocals – laid-back, lilting and
lightly bruised – work wonderfully with her supporting cast of ace players,
like guitarist Mark Ribot, pedal steel player Eric Haywood, drummer John
Convertino, keyboardist Rob Burger and Andrew Bird, who contributes a Roy
Orbison-like duet on “Drifting Apart.” Ribot’s forceful but never florid
playing (check out “Still Not Home”) particularly fortifies Merritt’s
bittersweet Americana.

 

The disc’s winning blend of warm
organic tones and smart atmospheric touches, recalls Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball – and could also be the
breakthrough for Merritt that Ball was
for Harris.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Drifting
Apart,” “Sweet Spot” -MICHAEL BERICK

 

 

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