- Tift Merritt. "Stitch of the World"
It’s been four years since we last heard from North Carolina’s Tift Merritt, but Stitch of the World was worth the wait. Merritt’s seventh studio release further demonstrates her assumption of Emmylou Harris’ mantle as a consummate country-rock stylist — although Merritt writes her own material, rarely reaching for covers. Familiar studio musicians Marc Ribot and Eric Heywood join her here, as does Sam Beam from Iron & Wine (in fact, the expanded edition of the album includes three extra Beam duets). When her songwriting is at its finest, as it is with the title cut and “Icarus,” Merritt is among today’s best Americana singer-songwriters. At other times, however, as on “Dusty Old Man,” she seems to be tossing off songs to fill an album. Merritt has never achieved the name recognition she deserves, but this new album may propel her to the Harris or Nanci Griffith ranks, particularly if Beam joins her on tour dates.
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