After rousing critical acclaim and a Grammy nomination for her 2004 album Tambourine, 30 year old alt-country singer/songwriter old Tift Merritt had achieved goals other young musicians could only imagine.
Then, unexpectedly, her record label, Lost Highway, dropped her, and she found herself weary from constant touring and unsure what to do next. Instead of barricading herself n Nashville or Los Angeles, Merritt retreated to Paris to reflect and work on new music.
The City of Lights seems to be the most unlikely place to stir up creativity in an artist hailed as one of the stars of the Americana music scene, but it inspired Another Country, Merritt’s most personal CD to date.
Some artists’ (think of Alanis Morrisette) raison d'être is to write about their daily anguish and highlight every impetuous thought. Too much of a contemplative thing can be self-indulgent or just plain bad, but just enough can make a beautiful and soothing piece of music. Tift Merritt's Another Country is such an album.
While in Paris, Merritt befriended an older woman named Cecile, a former jazz singer and a salon owner named Christian. Her friendship with these people and the infusion of a new atmosphere set the framework for the 11 tunes on Another Country. The CD, produced by George Drakoulis (Black Crowes, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) with guest appearances by guitarists Charlie Sexton and Doug Pettibone, flows together seamlessly.
While Tambourine and 2002’s Bramble Rose mined many musical styles and contained heavier, rock-oriented songs, Another Country remains focused on a folk/pop acoustic ballads in the style of Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell with a bit of Dusty Springfield thrown in to spice things up. It’s a stretch to call these songs “alt-country”, most of them would fit nicely in an adult contemporary playlist. Merritt explores an artist’s intimate personal struggles via universal themes of love, loss, and self-discovery that listeners can relate to their own lives.