Stitch of the World
Yep Roc Records
Our Favourite Redhead Comes Back To Save The The World!
I can still remember the very day my friend Biffa defied engineering science by ‘burning’ me a copy of Tift Merritt’s Tambourine album onto a ‘blank CD’ before my very eyes in 2004! The magic disc played as perfectly as anything I had bought from HMV and the music he captured for me helped change my life.
As a good boy, I subsequently bought the album, and everything else Ms. Merritt has recorded, plus two ‘in concert’ albums neither she nor her record company are aware of . Yep readers, I’m not just a fan but an unrequited lover too.
So it was with shaking hands that I slid this shining disc into the CD Player (still old school at RMHQ!) and the excitement I felt hearing the crashing guitar opening of Dusty Old Man was palpable and only comparable to that first time I heard Tambourine. The song is a real pot-boiler as Tift lets her voice swoop and soar over some really funky electric guitar solos.
A lot happens on this album; and a lot has happened to Tift since her last Alt. Country (?) album Travelling Alone in 2012…..she recorded a quasi-classical album with Simone Dinnerstein, got divorced, had a baby and turned 40 (she doesn’t look it).
At some stage she retreated to a friend’s ranch in Texas and began writing these songs before moving to LA to record them while a little bit pregnant.
The songs and stories are as good, if not a tad better than ever; and the delicate production makes songs like Heartache is an Uphill Struggle shimmer like a Spring leaf in the morning breeze.
Icarus on the other hand finds Tift at the piano singing a plaintive heartbreaker that owes more than a little to the Simone Dinnerstein period, and is tragically beautiful in it’s own perceptive way.
Something Came Over Me features a pedal-steel but is a companion piece to that song in many, almost poetic ways.
Always complex and articulate, Tift’s words and the way she uses language throughout now resemble the likes of Leonard Cohen and Lucinda Williams, with the rocking Proclamation Bones being a prime example of a singer-songwriter maturing and reaching her creative peak (although I expect that peak to last a good few more years).
The album features her best friend Sam Beam from Iron and Wine on three songs, the sweetly sad Eastern Light, the intricate Wait For Me which closes the disc and our very own Mrs. Magpies favourite song, Something Came Over Me.
Me? Choosing a favourite song is a bit like choosing a favourite Grandchild…..but if forced I have to go for the title track Stitch Of The World which is quintessentially Tift Merritt but almost mystical in the way the song comes together……a female Van Morrison, if you will?
If I had a star rating, this would be a 5 Star album and only history will go on to show if this is a major turning point in Tift Merritt’s career……it should be; fingers crossed.
Released January 27th 2017