Songwriter Tift Merritt lives in New York City. A North Carolina native, Tift began her music career in the clubs in Chapel Hill. Though she loves the city, she still considers North Carolina home.
Tift released her debut album Bramble Rose in 2002 on Lost Highway Records with Ethan Johns producing. The Associated Press called it the best debut album of that year in any genre. Her follow-up release, 2005's Tambourine, produced by George Drakoulias, earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album (even though it wasn't a country album, but a soul shakedown barn burner, but hey we'll take it) and three Americana Music Awards Nominations for Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Song of the Year for Good Hearted Man. Tift toured extensively with Elvis Costello, and was featured on Austin City Limits, who subsequently released a DVD of the footage.
In 2006, Tift took an accidental hiatus in Paris. Another Country, with George Drakoulias again at the helm, was her first release on Fantasy Records (Concord Music Group). The album was written at a piano in a rented Paris flat. "I first heard Tift Merritt some years ago during a writer's night at a small club," said her friend Emmylou Harris. "She stood out like a diamond in a coal patch and everyone there knew she carried a promise of great things to come. She has more than fulfilled that promise with the lovely Another Country." The album was nominated for another Americana Music Association and earned this accolade from Paste Magazine's four star review, "A force to be reckoned within any genre she approaches."
Tift is a sometimes photographer and had her first solo gallery exhibition, Other Countries, in Raleigh, North Carolina in May of 2009. The exhibit was based on photographs and journals made while writing the album Another Country.
Also in 2009, Tift married her longtime drummer and creative partner, Zeke Hutchins. The two met in 1997 in a class at Chapel Hill. Tift was a student in the creative writing program at the time. Zeke's band had just been dropped and he'd decided to quit music and go to college to become an elementary school teacher. After hearing Tift's homemade demo, he showed up with his drums and a box of records, and forced her to start a band with him in the kitchen of her apartment.
Tift produces The Spark for KRTS Marfa, Texas Public Radio. The Spark explores the real lives and processes of the people behind great works of art. Guests have included writer Nick Hornby, artist Kiki Smith, songstress Emmylou Harris and Merge co-founder Mac McCaughan. You can listen to The Spark here: www.marfaspark.com
Tift loves surfing, farmer's markets, independent record stores, short stories, anything French, and thunderstorms. If you can't find her, she has probably rented an apartment with a piano in a town where she doesn't know anyone.