Tift Merritt. Photo by Parker Fitzgerald.
Nick Bollinger talks to Texan singer-songwriter Tift Merritt ahead of her upcoming Auckland show.
Tift Merritt is a Texas-born, North Carolina-raised and currently New York-based singer-songwriter. Travelling Alone, her most recent solo work, has been out now for a good two or three years, but it’s an album I’ve kept coming back to; full of good songs, to which Merritt lends an authentic southern-ness that seems to speak directly from the places she grew up. Like Merritt’s four earlier albums, Travelling Alone roams the boundaries of rootsy Americana, becoming more contemplative when she moves to the piano, more rocking when her band kicks in. But if Americana is effectively this southern singer’s native tongue, she hasn’t let culture or geography restrict her.
Night, a 2013 collaboration with classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein, saw the singer interpreting Franz Schubert, Billie Holiday and Henry Purcell, while last year saw her touring as a guitarist and singer for the eclectic singer and violin player Andrew Bird, and she features prominently on his latest album: a collection of songs by gothic country duo The Handsome Family, with the suitably unsettling title Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of.
Tift Merritt, who plays at Auckland’s Tuning Fork on 7 September, talks to Nick Bollinger about her southern roots and eclectic career.