Tift Merritt – Stitch of the World
Tift Merritt has been on the road with Hiss Golden Messenger. And it shows. And in a good way. On her fine new album, there’s more than a hint of that soulful, comforting, MC Taylor sound. It’s particularly evident in the first two tracks, ‘Dusty Old Road’, and ‘Heartache Is An Uphill Climb’. The upshot is that if ever you’ve longed for a band called Tift Golden Messenger, then you’re in luck. Mostly, though, there are variations on more typical Tift Merritt themes. ‘My Boat’ is the quintessential singer-songwriter composition. An acoustic-led story that turns on the lyrics in the very last line. It’s a classic Janis Ian trope. The title track itself would be at home on any previous Tift Merritt album. But it’s not all. The final three tracks all feature Sam Beam of Iron and Wine fame. His input is recognisable, but nonetheless restrained. These are still Tift Merritt tracks. Yet the two artists complement each other beautifully. Indeed, the combination is perhaps more rewarding even than Beam’s recent full-length collaboration with Jesca Hoop. It’s been five years since Tift Merritt was Traveling Alone. Stitch of the World shows that she’s found some new friends and influences along the way. And good ones at that.