Tift Merritt is about as approachable as they come. An email inquiry to her press rep prompts an almost immediate response from the artist herself. “I’m happy to catch you up on what we’ve been up to lately and the like … just let me know if phone or email is better for you.” Merritt’s only stipulation: that any interview happen after 11 a.m., so she can get in her daily practice session on a piano she’s been using at a club not far from her Manhattan apartment. You could argue that, with a voice like hers, Merritt should be able to afford her dream piano by now. But while she may not be a household name (yet), she’s on a trajectory not unlike a few of her singer/songwriter luminaries (Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams), stockpiling critical plaudits and fan adoration for the four studio albums she’s released since 2002. Her most recent, See You On The Moon (Fantasy), is the scaled-back, introverted antithesis of what may be her only bid for a wider audience, 2004’s polished roots-rock zinger Tambourine. That’s the one that earned her a Grammy nod for best country album. (Guess no one bothered to tell the academy it wasn’t country.) Merritt will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with her.
Merritt: I really love Charles Bradley‘s No Time For Dreaming. I really can’t tell this man’s story for you. You have to listen to it and find out about it for yourself. But this record is a labor of love and pain and real life. I think those Daptone folks are doing it right. I think they are doing a good thing.
Video after the jump.