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Tift Merritt

Tift Merritt

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Catherine Tift Merritt is an American singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose and sing their own musical material including lyrics and melodies. As opposed to contemporary popular music singers who write their own songs, the term singer-songwriter describes a distinct form of artistry, closely associated with the...

, musician and North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 native. With her longtime band, she has built what has been called a "unique" and critically acclaimed body of work of "sonic short stories and poignant performances." She has been compared to songwriters like Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell, CC is a Canadian musician, singer songwriter, and painter. Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Saskatchewan and Western Canada and then busking in the streets and dives of Toronto...

 and Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris is an American singer-songwriter and musician. In addition to her work as a solo artist and bandleader, both as an interpreter of other composers' works and as a singer-songwriter, she is a sought-after backing vocalist and duet partner, working with numerous other artists including...

.

Merritt has released two studio album
Studio album
A studio album is an album made up of tracks recorded in the controlled environment of a recording studio. A studio album contains newly written and recorded or previously unreleased or remixed material, distinguishing itself from a compilation or reissue album of previously recorded material, or...

s for Lost Highway Records and two for Fantasy Records
Fantasy Records
Fantasy Records is a United States-based record label that was founded by Max and Sol Weiss in 1949 in San Francisco, California. They had previously operated a record-pressing plant called Circle Record Company before forming the Fantasy label...

. Her live albums so far are Home Is Loud released in 2005 and Buckingham Solo released in 2009.

Early years


Merritt was born in Houston but her family moved to Raleigh
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh is the capital and the second largest city in the state of North Carolina as well as the seat of Wake County. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city's 2010 population was 403,892, over an area of , making Raleigh...

, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 soon after. Her father taught her guitar chords and how to play piano by ear to Percy Sledge
Percy Sledge
Percy Sledge is an American R&B and soul performer who recorded the hit "When a Man Loves a Woman" in 1966.-Early career:...

 and Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

 songs, and she sang harmonies with him as a child. His eclectic record collection of soul
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

, folk
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, R&B, rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

, and country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 records influenced her both then and later; she credits his "genreless" taste with influencing her to write and perform without regard to genre herself.

In her early twenties, though she had performed solo in public, Merritt has said she decided she was better suited for writing short stories
Short Stories
Short Stories may refer to:*A plural for Short story*Short Stories , an American pulp magazine published from 1890-1959*Short Stories, a 1954 collection by O. E...

. She enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States...

 to study creative writing
Creative writing
Creative writing is considered to be any writing, fiction, poetry, or non-fiction, that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, and technical forms of literature. Works which fall into this category include novels, epics, short stories, and poems...

. There, she met Zeke Hutchins, whose band had just taken a hiatus and who had decided instead to become a school teacher. "With his encouragement and a big box of LPs from the 1970s," Merritt and Hutchins agreed to form a band. Hutchins set up his drum kit
Drum kit
A drum kit is a collection of drums, cymbals and often other percussion instruments, such as cowbells, wood blocks, triangles, chimes, or tambourines, arranged for convenient playing by a single person ....

 in the kitchen of the farmhouse where Merritt lived, and they practiced songs at her piano.

Career


Merritt began her professional career with her band The Carbines playing small clubs in Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Chapel Hill is a town in Orange County, North Carolina, United States and the home of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Health Care...

 and Raleigh
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh is the capital and the second largest city in the state of North Carolina as well as the seat of Wake County. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city's 2010 population was 403,892, over an area of , making Raleigh...

 such as The Cave, Cat's Cradle, and the front porch of the General Store in Bynum, NC. In 1998, The Carbines released a 7-inch single "Jukejoint Girl" b/w "Cowboy". In 1999, Merritt made a guest appearance on a seven-song EP
Extended play
An EP is a musical recording which contains more music than a single, but is too short to qualify as a full album or LP. The term EP originally referred only to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play records and LP records, but it is now applied to mid-length Compact...

 on the by Yep Rock
Yep Roc Records
Yep Roc Records is an independent International record label based in Haw River, North Carolina and owned by Redeye Distribution . The label has put out albums by artists like The Go-Betweens, The Fleshtones, Gang of Four, The Reverend Horton Heat, and The Minus 5, as well as the work of important...

 label with the Two Dollar Pistols, led by John Howie, Jr. The record was called The Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt
The Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt
The Two Dollar Pistols With Tift Merritt is an EP of country duets between Tift Merritt and Two Dollar Pistols frontman, John Howie, Jr....

. The EP featured two original tunes and five cover songs. In 2000, she won MerleFest
MerleFest
MerleFest is an annual "traditional plus" music festival held in Wilkesboro, North Carolina on the campus of Wilkes Community College . The festival, which is held the last weekend in April, is hosted by Grammy Award winner Doc Watson and is named in memory and honor of his son, Eddy Merle Watson,...

's Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, found a manager, and signed a contract with Lost Highway Records.

In 2002, Merritt released her debut album, Bramble Rose
Bramble Rose
Bramble Rose is the debut album by alternative country artist Tift Merritt. It was released on Lost Highway Records in 2002.-Track listing:# "Trouble Over Me"# "Virginia, No One Can Warn You"# "Neighborhood"# "Bird of Freedom"# "Bramble Rose"...

, containing eleven original songs recorded with her long-time band and produced by Ethan Johns
Ethan Johns
Ethan Johns is a record producer, engineer, mixer, musician, and songwriter who has worked with such artists such as Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Ray LaMontagne, Kevin Prosch, Rufus Wainwright, Howard Eliott Payne, Emmylou Harris, Crowded House, Laura Marling, Luthea Salom, and Crosby, Stills and...

. The record landed on the top ten lists for both Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

and the The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

, and was called the best debut of the year in any genre by the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

. A song from the album, "Trouble Over Me", was featured in writer Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby is an English novelist, essayist and screenwriter. He is best known for the novels High Fidelity, About a Boy, and for the football memoir Fever Pitch. His work frequently touches upon music, sport, and the aimless and obsessive natures of his protagonists.-Life and career:Hornby was...

's 31 Songs. While touring to promote Bramble Rose, Merritt opened for fellow North Carolinian Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams
David Ryan Adams is an American alt-country/rock singer-songwriter, from Jacksonville, North Carolina. Initially part of the group Whiskeytown, Adams left the band and released his first solo album Heartbreaker in 2000...

, who had helped her secure her first management and record contracts.

Her follow-up release, 2004's Tambourine
Tambourine (album)
Tambourine is the second album by alternative country artist Tift Merritt. It was released in 2004 by Lost Highway Records, and earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album.-Track listing:# "Stray Paper"# "Wait It Out"# "Good Hearted Man"...

, was produced by George Drakoulias
George Drakoulias
George Drakoulias is a Greek-American music producer and A&R executive at the American Recordings label. He is often considered a protege of Rick Rubin....

 and featured backing by Benmont Tench
Benmont Tench
Benjamin Montmorency Tench, III is an American keyboardist best known as a founding member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.-Early years:...

, Mike Campbell (of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers are an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida. They were formed in 1976 by Tom Petty , Mike Campbell , Benmont Tench , , Ron Blair and Stan Lynch...

), Neal Casal
Neal Casal
Neal Casal is an American songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist and photographer who has maintained an acclaimed solo career as well as playing guitar for The Cardinals.-1990 - 1999:...

 and Don Heffington (of Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris is an American singer-songwriter and musician. In addition to her work as a solo artist and bandleader, both as an interpreter of other composers' works and as a singer-songwriter, she is a sought-after backing vocalist and duet partner, working with numerous other artists including...

's Hot Band and Lone Justice
Lone Justice
Lone Justice was an American country rock band formed in 1982 by guitarist Ryan Hedgecock and singer Maria McKee.-Early era:They began their career as part of the L.A. cowpunk scene of the 1980s. Lone Justice was inspired by Hedgecock and McKee's mutual affection for rockabilly and country music...

). Tambourine was honored with a 2004 Grammy Award for Best Country Album
Grammy Award for Best Country Album
The Grammy Award for Best Country Album has been awarded since 1994. The equivalent award, the Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Album was presented in 1965 and 1966...

 nomination, though its sound was frequently described in quite different terms, such as "rock-soul throwdown". In 2005, Merritt and Tambourine were also nominated for three Americana Music Awards by the Americana Music Association
Americana Music Association
The Americana Music Association is a trade organization developed to provide professional support and to promote awareness of Americana music. Toward these ends the organization works with artists, radio stations, record labels, publishers, and others to create networking opportunities and to...

: Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Song of the Year for "Good Hearted Man". During the tour to promote Tambourine, Merritt opened for Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello , born Declan Patrick MacManus, is an English singer-songwriter. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader...

 and recorded Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits is an American public television music program recorded live in Austin, Texas by Public Broadcasting Service Public television member station KLRU, and broadcast on many PBS stations around the United States...

—a performance later released as a DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 by New West Records
New West Records
New West Records is a record label based in Los Angeles, California, Austin, Texas, and Athens, Georgia. It was established in 1998, and has been home to several indie rock and alternative country bands as well as representing the PBS show Austin City Limits...

. The sold-out homecoming concert for the tour—at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina—was recorded for a live album release; Home Is Loud was released in 2005 and re-released by the German label Blue Rose Records with bonus tracks in November 2009.

After extensive touring behind Tambourine, Merritt rented an apartment in Paris, where she wrote the songs that would become 2008's Another Country
Another Country
Another Country may refer to:* Another Country , by James Baldwin* Another Country , by Julian Mitchell* Another Country , an adaptation of the play* Another Country...

album. Before signing with a new label and making that record, Merritt performed Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall
"A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" is a song written by Bob Dylan in the summer of 1962. It was first recorded in Columbia Records' Studio A on 6 December 1962 for his second album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The lyric structure is based on the question and answer form of the traditional ballad "Lord...

" at the I'm Not There
I'm Not There
I'm Not There is a 2007 biographical musical film directed by Todd Haynes, inspired by iconic American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Six actors depict different facets of Dylan's life and public persona: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, and Ben Whishaw...

 tribute concert at New York City's Beacon Theater on November 7, 2007, with guitarist Joe Henry
Joe Henry
Joseph Lee "Joe" Henry is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. Henry's musical style spans several genres, including alt. country, rock, jazz and folk.- Early years :...

. According to the New York Times review, Merritt had "the night's purest voice."

Released on Fantasy Records
Fantasy Records
Fantasy Records is a United States-based record label that was founded by Max and Sol Weiss in 1949 in San Francisco, California. They had previously operated a record-pressing plant called Circle Record Company before forming the Fantasy label...

 in 2008, Another Country featured the core of Merritt's long-time band, along with guitarist Charlie Sexton
Charlie Sexton
Charles Wayne Sexton is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter best known for the 1985 hit Beat's So Lonely and as the guitarist for Bob Dylan's backing band from 1999 to 2002 and since 2009...

 (Bob Dylan), and again with Drakoulias at the helm. Another Country continued the trend of high-profile favorable press for Merritt's releases. Emmylou Harris said, "I first heard Tift Merritt some years ago during a writers' night at a small club. She stood out like a diamond in a coal patch and everyone there knew she carried a promise of great things to come. She has more than fulfilled that promise with Another Country." Paste
Paste (magazine)
Paste is a monthly music and entertainment digital magazine published in the United States by Wolfgang's Vault. Its tagline is "Signs of Life in Music, Film and Culture."-History:...

magazine gave the album a four-star review, calling Merritt "a force to be reckoned with in any genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

 she approaches." The song "Broken" from Another Country was nominated for an Americana Music Award for Song of the Year. The Another Country tour played the Newport Folk Festival
Newport Folk Festival
The Newport Folk Festival is an American annual folk-oriented music festival in Newport, Rhode Island, which began in 1959 as a counterpart to the previously established Newport Jazz Festival...

, Bonaroo, and in 2009, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival
Edmonton Folk Music Festival
The Edmonton Folk Music Festival is an annual four-day outdoor music event held the second weekend of August in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, established in 1980 by Don Whalen. The festival continues to draw many people from around the world as both spectators and performers. The current producer of...

, and MerleFest
MerleFest
MerleFest is an annual "traditional plus" music festival held in Wilkesboro, North Carolina on the campus of Wilkes Community College . The festival, which is held the last weekend in April, is hosted by Grammy Award winner Doc Watson and is named in memory and honor of his son, Eddy Merle Watson,...

. On the Another Country tour, Merritt made runs in both the US and the UK with fellow singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson
Teddy Thompson
Teddy Thompson is a British folk and rock musician. He is the son of folk-rock musicians Richard and Linda Thompson and brother of singer Kamila Thompson...

.

Buckingham Solo, recorded in England, is an intimate acoustic solo concert recording made during the Another Country touring, and released on the Fantasy label in April 2009.
Please Break the Silence of the Middle of the Night, an iTunes
ITunes
iTunes is a media player computer program, used for playing, downloading, and organizing digital music and video files on desktop computers. It can also manage contents on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad....

 EP, was released later in 2008. The EP contains two alternate versions of songs from Another Country, a cover of George Harrison
George Harrison
George Harrison, MBE was an English musician, guitarist, singer-songwriter, actor and film producer who achieved international fame as lead guitarist of The Beatles. Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle", Harrison became over time an admirer of Indian mysticism, and introduced it to the other...

s "I Live For You", an outtake from the Another Country sessions, "Last To Know", and "Wayward And Weary," recorded for the film Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is a 2008 documentary film directed by Alex Gibney. It details Hunter S. Thompson's landmark writings on music and politics...

.

Performance highlights of the later Another Country tour and immediately after it included opening an outdoor show in Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, US. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is surrounded on three sides by the city of Los Angeles — Pacific Palisades on the northwest, Brentwood on the north, West Los Angeles on the northeast, Mar Vista on the east, and...

 for folk singer Joan Baez
Joan Baez
Joan Chandos Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice....

, opening the Pine Cone Winter Music Festival in her hometown of Raleigh for Kris Kristofferson
Kris Kristofferson
Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson is an American musician, actor, and writer. He is known for hits such as "Me and Bobby McGee", "For the Good Times", "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down", and "Help Me Make It Through the Night"...

, and singing the "The Star-Spangled Banner
The Star-Spangled Banner
"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from "Defence of Fort McHenry", a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships...

" for then-Senator Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 at his last campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

 before winning the 2008 US Presidential election
Presidential election
A presidential election is the election of any head of state whose official title is president.- United States :The United States has elections on the state and local levels...

.

Merritt recorded the follow-up to 2008's Another Country in Durham with producer Tucker Martine
Tucker Martine
Tucker Martine is an American, Grammy nominated record producer, musician and composer who has worked with artists such as My Morning Jacket, Mudhoney, Bill Frisell, The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, R.E.M., Laura Veirs, Spoon, and Tift Merritt...

. The album, See You On The Moon, was released June 1, 2010 on Fantasy Records
Fantasy Records
Fantasy Records is a United States-based record label that was founded by Max and Sol Weiss in 1949 in San Francisco, California. They had previously operated a record-pressing plant called Circle Record Company before forming the Fantasy label...

. My Morning Jacket
My Morning Jacket
My Morning Jacket is an American rock band from Louisville, Kentucky.The band consists of Jim James , Tom 'Two-Tone Tommy' Blankenship , Patrick Hallahan , Carl Broemel , and Bo Koster .-History:My Morning Jacket was...

 frontman Yim Yames (Jim James
Jim James
James Edward Olliges Jr. , professionally known as Jim James or Yim Yames, is the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter of Louisville, Kentucky-based rock band My Morning Jacket. James grew up in the Hikes Point neighborhood of Louisville, attended St. Martha grade school and graduated...

) is featured on the track "Feel of the World". Again, a review in The New Yorker specified moments on the record to other singers, including Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins
Judy Collins
Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins is an American singer and songwriter, known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records ; and for her social activism. She is an alumna of the University of Colorado.-Musical career:Collins was born and raised in Seattle, Washington...

, and additionally U2
U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

; and The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

included her in a weekend feature on singer-songwriters, placing her "in the tradition of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor
James Taylor
James Vernon Taylor is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000....

 and Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen
Leonard Norman Cohen, is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality and interpersonal relationships...

.

Touring for Moon began in June of 2010 and continueed for over a year in North America, Europe, and the UK. In addition to headlining dates in North America and the UK, Merritt has supported Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris is an American singer-songwriter and musician. In addition to her work as a solo artist and bandleader, both as an interpreter of other composers' works and as a singer-songwriter, she is a sought-after backing vocalist and duet partner, working with numerous other artists including...

, Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello , born Declan Patrick MacManus, is an English singer-songwriter. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader...

, Amos Lee
Amos Lee
Amos Lee is an American singer-songwriter whose musical style encompasses folk, rock and soul. Lee has four albums on Blue Note Records and has toured as an opening act for Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Norah Jones, Paul Simon, Merle Haggard, Van Morrison, John Prine, Dave Matthews Band and Adele. In...

, Josh Ritter
Josh Ritter
Josh Ritter is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist and author who performs and records with The Royal City Band. Ritter is known for his distinctive Americana style and narrative lyrics. In 2006 he was named one of the "100 Greatest Living Songwriters" by Paste magazine.- Early life :Josh...

, Patty Griffin
Patty Griffin
Patty Griffin, born Patricia Jean Griffin, March 16, 1964, is an American Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and musician. She is especially known for her down-home crafting of songs and her connection to musicians including Emmylou Harris, Ellis Paul, and the Dixie Chicks, who have played with...

, Mary Chapin Carpenter
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Mary Chapin Carpenter is an American folk and country music artist. Carpenter spent several years singing in Washington, D.C. clubs before signing in the late 1980s with Columbia Records, who marketed her as a country singer...

, David Gray
David Gray
David Gray may refer to:*David Gray , Scottish poet*David Gray , English singer-songwriter*David Gray , Scottish footballer*David Gray , Scottish footballer...

, Ray LaMontagne
Ray LaMontagne
Raymond "Ray" Charles Jack LaMontagne is a Grammy-award winning American singer-songwriter. LaMontagne has released four studio albums, Trouble, Till the Sun Turns Black, Gossip in the Grain and God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise. He was born in New Hampshire and was inspired to create music after...

, Iron & Wine
Iron & Wine
Samuel Beam , better known by his stage and recording name Iron & Wine, is an American singer-songwriter. He has released four studio albums, several EPs and singles, as well as a few download-only releases, which include a live album...

, and Gregg Allman
Gregg Allman
Gregory Lenoir Allman , known as Gregg Allman, is a rock and blues singer, keyboardist, guitarist and songwriter, and a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band. He was inducted with the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia...

.

Merritt is also a photographer; her first gallery exhibition, Other Countries, ran at The Mahler Gallery in Raleigh, North Carolina in May 2009. She also hosts an artist-to-artist interview radio show called The Spark with Tift Merritt which is produced by KRTS in Marfa, Texas, and whose guests have included Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby is an English novelist, essayist and screenwriter. He is best known for the novels High Fidelity, About a Boy, and for the football memoir Fever Pitch. His work frequently touches upon music, sport, and the aimless and obsessive natures of his protagonists.-Life and career:Hornby was...

, Kiki Smith
Kiki Smith
Kiki Smith is an American artist classified as a feminist artist, a movement with beginnings in the twentieth century...

, and poet C. K. Williams
C. K. Williams
Charles Kenneth Williams is an American poet. Senior poet Paul Muldoon has described him as “one of the most distinguished poets of his generation.” -Biography:...

 among others. Episodes of The Spark stream on the show's website and are available as a free podcast
Podcast
A podcast is a series of digital media files that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication...

.

In 2009, Merritt married Zeke Hutchins, her band's drummer and her long-time partner, in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, where they currently reside.

Film & TV


In addition to Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits is an American public television music program recorded live in Austin, Texas by Public Broadcasting Service Public television member station KLRU, and broadcast on many PBS stations around the United States...

, Merritt has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is an American late-night talk show hosted by Jay Leno that initially aired from May 25, 1992 to May 29, 2009, and resumed production on March 1, 2010. The fourth incarnation of the Tonight Show franchise made its debut on May 25, 1992, three days following Johnny...

 and the Late Show with David Letterman
Late Show with David Letterman
Late Show with David Letterman is a U.S. late-night talk show hosted by David Letterman on CBS. The show debuted on August 30, 1993, and is produced by Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants Incorporated. The show's music director and band-leader of the house band, the CBS Orchestra, is...

. Her music has appeared in The L Word
The L Word
The L Word is an American co-production television drama series originally shown on Showtime portraying the lives of a group of lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and their friends, family and lovers in the trendy Greater Los Angeles, California city of West Hollywood...

, Men In Trees
Men in Trees
Men in Trees is an American romantic television dramedy series which premiered on September 12, 2006 on ABC and starred Anne Heche who played relationship coach Marin Frist. The series was set in the fictional town of Elmo, Alaska and concerned Marin Frist's misadventures in relationships...

, United States of Tara and the film New in Town. She has also written two songs for the upcoming animated film Dorothy of Oz, starring Lea Michele
Lea Michele
Lea Michele Sarfati , known professionally as Lea Michele, is an American actress and singer. Michele began working professionally as a child actress on Broadway in productions such as Ragtime and Les Misérables. She originated the role of Wendla in the musical Spring Awakening and currently plays...

 and Dan Aykroyd
Dan Aykroyd
Daniel Edward "Dan" Aykroyd, CM is a Canadian comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, winemaker and ufologist. He was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, an originator of The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters and has had a long career as a film actor and screenwriter.-Early...

, set for release in early 2012.

Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Country
US
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...


US Heat
Top Heatseekers
Top Heatseekers refers to either of two separate "Breaking and Entering" music charts issued weekly by Billboard Magazine: the Heatseekers Albums chart or the Heatseekers Songs chart. They were introduced by Billboard in 1993 with the purpose of highlighting the sales by new and developing musical...


US Folk
Folk Albums
Folk Albums is a music chart published weekly by Billboard magazine which ranks the top selling "current releases by traditional folk artists, as well as appropriate titles by acoustic-based singer-songwriters" in the United States. The chart debuted on the issue dated December 5, 2009...


Bramble Rose
Bramble Rose
Bramble Rose is the debut album by alternative country artist Tift Merritt. It was released on Lost Highway Records in 2002.-Track listing:# "Trouble Over Me"# "Virginia, No One Can Warn You"# "Neighborhood"# "Bird of Freedom"# "Bramble Rose"...

  • Release date: June 4, 2002
  • Label: Lost Highway Records
47
Tambourine
Tambourine (album)
Tambourine is the second album by alternative country artist Tift Merritt. It was released in 2004 by Lost Highway Records, and earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album.-Track listing:# "Stray Paper"# "Wait It Out"# "Good Hearted Man"...

  • Release date: August 24, 2004
  • Label: Lost Highway Records
  • 21
    Another Country
    Another Country (Tift Merritt album)
    Another Country is a studio album by singer-songwriter Tift Merritt. It was recorded in the summer of 2007, produced in L.A. by George Drakoulias, and released on February 26, 2008 by Fantasy Records.-Track listing:All songs written by Tift Merritt....

  • Release date: February 26, 2008
  • Label: Fantasy Records
    Fantasy Records
    Fantasy Records is a United States-based record label that was founded by Max and Sol Weiss in 1949 in San Francisco, California. They had previously operated a record-pressing plant called Circle Record Company before forming the Fantasy label...

  • 156 1
    See You on the Moon
  • Release date: June 1, 2010
  • Label: Fantasy Records
  • 6 7
    "—" denotes releases that did not chart

    Live albums

    Title Album details
    Home Is Loud
    • Release date: 2005
    • Label: RCAM
    Buckingham Solo
  • Release date: June 23, 2009
  • Label: Vella Recordings

  • Extended plays

    Title Album details
    The Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt
    The Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt
    The Two Dollar Pistols With Tift Merritt is an EP of country duets between Tift Merritt and Two Dollar Pistols frontman, John Howie, Jr....

    • Release date: October 26, 1999
    • Label: Yep Roc Records
      Yep Roc Records
      Yep Roc Records is an independent International record label based in Haw River, North Carolina and owned by Redeye Distribution . The label has put out albums by artists like The Go-Betweens, The Fleshtones, Gang of Four, The Reverend Horton Heat, and The Minus 5, as well as the work of important...

    Please Break the Silence of the
    Middle of the Night
  • Release date: September 16, 2008
  • Label: Fantasy Records

  • Singles

    Year Single Peak positions Album
    US Country
    Hot Country Songs
    Hot Country Songs is a chart published weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States.This 60-position chart lists the most popular country music songs, calculated weekly mostly by airplay and occasionally commercial sales...

    2002 "Virginia, No One Can Warn You" Bramble Rose
    "Sunday"
    2003 "Trouble Over Me"
    2004 "Good Hearted Man" 60 Tambourine
    "Stray Paper"
    2008 "Broken" Another Country
    "—" denotes releases that did not chart

    Music videos

    Year Video Director
    2002 "Virginia, No One Can Warn You" Douglas Avery
    2004 "Good Hearted Man" Philip Andelman
    2008 "Broken" Martyn Atkins

    Awards and nominations

    Year Association Category Result
    2004 47th Grammy Awards Country Album of the Year - Tambourine
    2005 Americana Music Association
    Americana Music Association
    The Americana Music Association is a trade organization developed to provide professional support and to promote awareness of Americana music. Toward these ends the organization works with artists, radio stations, record labels, publishers, and others to create networking opportunities and to...

    Album of the Year - Tambourine
    Artist of the Year
    Song of the Year - "Good Hearted Man"

    External links