Monday, April 13, 2009

Sitting Still for Tift Merritt

A few years back Tift Merritt made a big debut with her album Bramble Rose, followed that with Tambourine, and earned a Grammy nomination. Maybe you remember Good Hearted Man. And then she disappeared for a few years until she showed up Sunday night at Club Passim in Cambridge.

And where has she been? She says that her latest songs came out of spending some time living in Paris, in an apartment with a piano in a cool part of town. But it turns out Paris is also a city of sports bars, and she didn’t realize there would be one at the end of her street. Imagine an artistic soul going all the way to Paris to find herself living next to a sports bar.

What became clear from her show is that Tift Merritt is a live wire. She had a little trouble adjusting to the quiet crowd at Club Passim. Even with the injection this year of alcohol - wine and beer from Cambridge Brewing Co. - into the already cramped room, it is still a listening room. Once she settled in, it was a great show.

There is a disjunction from the Tift Merritt you see in the highly polished music video, such as for Broken and the Tift Merritt you see perform live, such as in this video for Another Country. Her latest album, Buckingham Solo, recorded live in England last November, is coming out in June.

And what else has been going on? Tift said something about getting recently married. Whether she married the good hearted man she didn’t say. Tift has also been recoding interviews with other musicians for a show called The Spark on Texas Public Radio. And she had an interesting story about performing the national anthem for an Obama rally in North Carolina the day before the election. Now we know how Obama carried North Carolina.

"Love is another country, and I want to go."

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