Tift Merritt Moves Beyond ‘Country’ Label
The album, produced by Tucker Martine who has worked with Bill Frisell, the Decemberists, and Spoon, has a mix of sounds that pull from rock, soul, folk and yes, some country, but it doesn't belong to any one format. With nods to the sparse but powerful arrangements of Bill Withers and work by guest artists including Jim James (aka Yim Yames) of My Morning Jacket, Tift sees the songs as a combination of influences that best convey her musical vision.
"Songwriting is your own point of view and really trying to get at something true," Tift tells The Boot. "We really tried to build this record around the songs – it is not a band approach. It is a songwriter record that we built out from the songs themselves."
But what about those who have labeled her work country ever since her sophomore album, 'Tambourine,' was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Country Album?
"I couldn't care less. I just couldn't care less," she says. "When we were nominated for a Grammy in the country category that was amazing and so fabulous. But there was never a single moment that mainstream country radio or the mainstream country world touched us. That was not even a country record.
"Look, honestly, I'm a songwriter. I write songs and every record is different and every record should be different. I'm not going to make the same record four times, five times. What ties all my work together is songwriting with a sincere point of view and really trying to get at something true."
Tift is currently on tour. Her next concerts are June 25 in Atlanta, Ga. and June 26 in Freeport, Maine. For a complete list of concert dates, check her website.