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On Her Own Merritt

17 JUL 09 DAVID VIENNA

I once described Tift Merritt's wonderful 2008 release Another Country as a "flat-out amazing demonstration of singer/songwriter prowess." I also commended her live show for its sense of intimacy. Now, you can experience her live show whenever you like thanks to her latest Fantasy CD Buckingham Solo.

Recorded last year in Buckingham, England, the set in as intimate as it gets -- no band, just Merritt and a piano or guitar. She thoughtfully strolls through a handful of tracks from Another Country and other releases. One standout track is "Broken," which takes the longing and tainted hope of the original version amplifies it by stripping away the production, leaving just Tift and her guitar.

I've compared Merritt to other great singer/songwriters before, but this album really affords the listener a pure take on her songs. The raw "Morning Is My Destination" -- played on a sparse piano with a brief harmonica solo -- echoes Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Tori Amos and other women who've shared their unique perspective in a way that shakes the soul.

There are 12 tracks in all. In addition to hearing her live CD, you can also actually see her live. She's on tour through the end of the summer.

in this playlist.



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