Tift Merritt – Traveling Alone


North Carolina’s Tift Merritt has a gift for storytelling, a mean band, and a voice that wouldn’t be out of place on the Ryman stage, or a backwoods jukejoint. Her latest release, Traveling Along, is a tight set of 11 songs that are reminiscent of her earlier work, and yet come across quite fresh. A good chunk of the record is indeed about travelling, such as the title track, the rocking “Still Not Home,” and the plaintive “Too Soon To Go.” Andrew Bird makes an appearance, sharing vocals on “Drifted Apart.” Produced by Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket), the album ebbs and flows nicely around Merritt’s short-story like songs, giving each tale its own space to breath. Having first stumbled across Merritt shortly after Bramble Rose came out in 2002, it’s reassuring to hear a record like this one, where the artist has grown substantially over a decade while still holding true to the artistic vision they came out of the gates with. (Yep Rock, yeproc.com) Sheldon Birnie

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