Live Review: Tift Merritt

Tift Merritt
The Mercury Lounge
March 19, 2008
Review by David Chiu

It was a homecoming for Tift Merritt when she and her band played the Mercury Lounge the other night. Already in the middle of her tour to promote her excellent new album Another Country, the native North Carolinian returns to her current home of New York to play an unusual early show to a sold-out crowd.

The back story behind the new album was a trip Merritt took to Paris, which inspired her to write again. (It’s no surprise that a black and white French film from the ‘50s or ‘60s was played onscreen before the show) Most of the songs from the set list drew almost entirely from the new album and they didn’t disappoint. Merritt started off solo with her acoustic guitar with the lovely “Keep You Happy”; then the band came in and proceeded to play songs such as “Broken,” “Another Country,” the rocking “My Heart Is Free” and the soulful “Morning is My Destination.” The encore included a rendition of Merritt’s “Good Hearted Man,” off of her previous album Tambourine; and a romantic ballad sung in French, “Mille Tendresses (A Thousand Tendernesses).” She came back for another encore performing “Plainest Thing,” also from Tambourine.

Her band played excellent. An engaging performer, Merritt alternated between passionately strumming her acoustic (and sometimes electric) guitar and hitting the keyboards. It was a good and entertaining evening of tender alt-country music.

Partial set list

Keep You Happy
(Something to Me)
Broken
Another Country
Supposed to Make You Happy
Hopes Too High
I Know What I’m Looking For Now
(unknown song)
My Heart Is Free
Tender Branch
Morning Is My Destination

Encore:
Good Hearted Man
Mille Tendresses

Second encore:
Plainest Thing

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