Grammy-nominated alt-country/Americana songstress Tift Merritt returned to her Carolina roots this past year with her band and producer Tucker Martine (Decemberists, Laura Veirs), emerging with her fourth studio album See You On the Moon arriving June 1 via Fantasy. "I wanted to take everything to a place that was less labored, of more depth," she says. "Open space, real strength. There was a certain feeling of inevitability about it. Like I found these songs whole." Less thematic than her last studio effort, 2008's fine, autobiographical Another Country, Merritt's new project finds her forcefully pushing musical boundaries, trying a variety of new instruments and tone and ending up with a dozen songs for what she describes as "a really direct record."
Songs such as the dramatically swelling "Engine To Turn" and the magnificent centerpiece "Feel of the World" (featuring My Morning Jacket's Jim James) maintain what Newsweek has described as Merritt's "magical combination of cool reserve and effortless warmth". Creating simple folk melodies and fleshing them out with stripped and staggered rhythms, See You On the Moon is awash with ringing guitars, the occasional tender twang of a pedal steel and densely layered vocal harmonies. As with the alluring ballad "Things That Everybody Does", Merritt and Martine bring bold and bright brushstrokes to Moon's expansive musical canvas, lending the sessions a distinct and organic live feel. Ethereal impressionism is out, clear-eyed realism is in. Highly recommended. Merritt is previewing a new song from Moon on her website every week until the album's release.
Tift Merritt - "Engine to Turn" (from See You On the Moon)
Tift Merritt - "Things That Everybody Does" (from See You On the Moon)