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Tift Merritt

Stitch of the World – 2017 (Yep Roc)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Tift Merritt

Tift Merritt's gets off to a rip-roaring start by opening "Stitch of the World" with a song called "Dusty Old Man." If you can imagine it, the song sounds like Emmylou Harris fronting John Mellencamp's "Uh-huh" band from 1983. The album gets a little softer after this, although it's no less passionate throughout. Merritt may sing like a gentle soul, but she's the dedicated, persistent sort.

Merritt follow's the gospel-tinged "Heartache Is an Uphill Climb," which preaches stick-to-it-ness when walking through difficult post-break up days with one called "My Boat." It is a song of inclusiveness, which could address multiple social issues. Merritt doesn't name any of these, though. Instead, she describes her kind of paradise on earth; one where all are welcome. If there's one pre-requisite to boarding this Merritt vessel, it's a love of good music. She reminds us all that the Rolling Stones will be the soundtrack for her journey.

Persistence is extolled again with "Love Soldiers On." In the same manner heartache is described as requiring physical resistance, love is characterized as an attribute that never gives up easily. "Dusty Old Man" is positively foot-stomping when compared to something like "Icarus," which - with its plaintive piano and far away steel guitar - is a little like Elton John's more meditative '70s music. Merritt does rev it up again with "Proclamation Bones," with a country rocker that brings The Flying Burrito Brothers to mind immediately. She closes with three songs that also feature Sam Beam. All sound like they would go over well in the hushed atmosphere of a late night folk club.

Merritt may be a quiet voice, but she's also smart with a whole lot of heart. "Stitch of the World" is her musical whisper that just may change your life for the better.