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Tift Merritt — Traveling Companion (2013)

Tift Merritt — Traveling Companion (September 17, 2013)

USA Flag      Tift Merritt — Traveling Companion
   Gifted singer and superb songwriter as well as a skillful guitarist, with influences from all over Americana.
Birth name: Catherine Tift Merritt
Born: January 8, 1975, Houston, Texas
Location: New York City, NY
Instruments: Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Harmonica
Album release: September 17, 2013
Record Label: Yep Roc Records
Duration:     39:14
01 Traveling Alone     5:18
02 Lingering On     2:44
03 Train Song     3:02
04 Drifted Apart     4:05
05 Real Understanding     4:33
06 For Free     4:58
07 Real Good On My Own     2:57
08 Country Cemetery     3:57
09 To Myself     3:11
10 Southern Downtown     4:29
   In 2009, Merritt married Zeke Hutchins, her band's drummer and her long-time partner, in New York City, where they currently reside.
   Yep Roc Records released of a special expanded box set of Tift Merritt’s critically acclaimed album, Traveling Alone, on Sept. 17, 2013.
   One year after its initial release, the exquisite expanded version features bonus album Traveling Companion — 10 previously unreleased acoustic tracks, including Merritt originals and two covers from Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits.    Traveling Companion was recorded this year at Brooklyn’s Mason Jar Music studio with Merritt’s touring guitarist, Eric Heywood (The Jayhawks, Son Volt, Alejandro Escovedo).
   Merritt says that “recording the duo acoustic album was a pleasure. We just sat around a couple of microphones and played acoustic guitars like [we were at] a campfire.”
Written by Andrew Leahey July 11th, 2013 at 7:00 am
   Already heard Tift Merritt‘s new album, Traveling Alone? You haven’t heard it this way. Merritt will release a deluxe edition of the record in September, beefing up the original tracklist with an illustrated hardback book and a bonus disc of unreleased acoustic tracks. Eric Heywood — Merritt’s touring guitarist, with an impressive alt.country resume that also includes stints with Ray Lamontagne and the Jahyawks — strums with her on the second disc, which is cheekily titled Traveling Companion.
   “Putting together the Deluxe Edition has just been such a pleasure,” Merritt told us. “The illustrations for the lyric book are just so beautiful, and recording the duo acoustic album was a pleasure, too. We just sat around a couple of microphones and played acoustic guitars like [we were at] a campfire.”
Tift Merritt: Coffee Talk With The Compass Rose (http://www.americansongwriter.com/2013/05/tift-merritt-coffee-talk-with-the-compass-rose/)
   The acoustic disc includes a few unplugged versions of songs from the original album, as well as covers by Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits. We’re happy to premiere one of the other highlights, a Merritt original called “Lingering On,” below. Look for the rest of the two-volume package on September 17. (http://www.americansongwriter.com/)
1999 Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt   Yep Roc  
2002 Bramble Rose   Lost Highway / Universal Distribution  
2004 Tambourine   Lost Highway  
2008 Another Country   Fantasy     #1 US Heat  
2009 Buckingham Solo   Fantasy  
2009 Home Is Loud   Blue Rose Records  
2010 See You on the Moon   Concord / Fantasy     #6 US Heat/#7 US Folk  
2012 Traveling Alone   Yep Roc     #10 US Heat/#46 US Indie/#12 US Folk  
2013 Night   Sony Classical
Album Traveling Alone
Album release:  Sept. 17, 2013
Review by Mark DemingScore: ****
   If Tift Merritt's body of work so far has shown anything, it’s that she seems incapable of making an uninteresting or emotionally dishonest record, and she can work in a number of different ways and still sound like herself. Traveling Alone, Merritt's fifth studio album, was recorded in Brooklyn with producer Tucker Martine, and for these sessions, Merritt and her studio band cut the bulk of the material live in the studio, with a group of stellar accompanists including Marc Ribot on guitar, John Convertino on percussion, Eric Heywood on pedal steel, and Jay Brown on bass. The close interaction of the musicians is a large part of the sound of Traveling Alone — hearing them kick into gear in the intro to "Still Not Home" is a thrill — but despite having a band of top-flight players behind her, Merritt is very much the focus of Traveling Alone throughout, and she’s in typically excellent form. The title cut is a bittersweet meditation on the joys of solitude, and much of Traveling Alone concerns itself with freedom and following one’s own path, for better ("To Myself") or for worse ("Still Not Home"), and Merritt's lyrics are eloquent with an artful touch that doesn’t compromise their sincerity and direct focus, while her strong but elegant melodies are a fine match. As a vocalist, Merritt continues to go from strength to strength, and the purity of her instrument and the intelligence of her phrasing, as well her sure-footed musical instincts, suggest she’s maturing into the Emmylou Harris of her generation.    And with guest vocalist Andrew Bird doing his best Roy Orbison impression alongside Merritt's lead, "Drifted Apart" is the best ballad of broken hearts to appear so far in 2012. Traveling Alone feels more spontaneous and immediate than most of Tift Merritt's previous work, but it’s no less beautiful or affecting for it, and it offers further evidence that Merritt is as good a singer/songwriter as anyone working the form these days. [Yep Roc Records released a deluxe expanded edition of Traveling Alone in the fall of 2013 that included an illustrated hardbound lyric book and a bonus disc of acoustic performances.] 
01 Traveling Alone     4:44  
02 Sweet Spot     2:50  
03 Drifted Apart     3:34  
04 Still Not Home     3:48  
05 Feeling of Beauty     4:01  
06 Too Soon to Go     4:35 
07 Small Talk Relations     3:23  
08 Spring     4:21  
09 To Myself     3:34  
10 In the Way     3:35  
11 Marks     5:44 
   Andrew Bird  Violin, Vocals
   Jay Brown  Bass, Harmony
   Rob Burger  Accordion, Mellotron, Piano, Wurlitzer
   John Convertino  Drums, Percussion
   Parker Fitzgerald  Photography
   Ryan Freeland  Mastering, Mixing
   Eric Heywood  Banjo, Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar, Pedal Steel
   Clarice Jensen  Cello
   Tucker Martine  Engineer, Producer
   Tift Merritt  Composer, Guitar (Acoustic), Piano, Vocals
   Rob Moose  String Arrangements, Violin
   Don Piper  Assistant
   Marc Ribot  Guitar, Marxophone, Ukulele
   Tony Scherr  Bass (Upright)
   Nadia Sirota  Viola
   Alex Venguer  Engineer
   Noel Waggner  Package Design
   Y Music Strings  Featured Artist, Strings
Website: http://www.tiftmerritt.com/welcome/
Fan website: http://www.tiftmerritt.net/
MySpace: https://myspace.com/tiftmerritt

Tift Merritt — Traveling Companion (2013)




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