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With Tambourine, Tift has completely reinvented herself. The album itself is slickly produced, with lots of instruments and lots of backup voices, compared to the simple, naive production of Bramble Rose.
By now you've probably heard the hype, comparisons to Dusty Springfield, Delaney and Bonnie, and Carole King. The comparisons are apt. This is clearly a sound from a more soulful generation.
Fortunately, the heart and soul behind the music is still Tift Merritt. She is a remarkable songstress. And her beautiful voice is captured with remarkable clarity in these recordings.
If you're a big fan of Tift's earlier music, you'll probably need to listen to Tambourine three or four times before you fully appreciate it. If Tift is a new find, you'll probably find yourself singing along with songs like "Good Hearted Man," or "Write My Ticket." You'll get a good chuckle out of "Your Love Made a U Turn." If you're like me, you'll get completely hooked on "Still Pretending." Old fan or new, once you put Tambourine into your CD player, you'll be loathe to take it out.
Given the remarkable variety of Tift's first two albums, one can only hope we don't have to wait another two years to see what she will come up with next.
Following in the footsteps of Wilco and Ryan Adams, Tift has moved out of Southern roots-based music with this album in the effort to sell some records. I can't blame any of them for doing this. There's no use making music unless you have an audience to hear it.
Tift Merritt is a fine songwriter with a sweet voice, and a lot of ambition. There's a lot of Memphis-based soul and a lot of 70s based rock and roll on this album, and an overheated production that sounds best when played very loud. At times, the songs on this album are honest, cut through the slickness, and remind me of Patty Griffin at her best. Other times, the songs are shallow, have decent hooks and remind me of Sheryl Crow.
Sometimes the production on this album overwhelms her voice. While a lot of money has been poured into this album, it's not clear to me how it's going to find a major audience. Just how many people are going to buy 70s-based music steeped in Al Green and the Allman Brothers? It's worth noting that one of the fine back up singers on this album, Maria McKee, tried doing this with an album of her own a few years back. It didn't sell.
Being a star requires talent, hard work, a sound right for the times, compromises to your art, and a whole lot of luck. I've been listening to Tift Merritt since she started playing dive clubs in Chapel Hill and Raleigh (she's a great live performer). I know she wants to be a star.Read more ›
Merritt broke through onto the country scene a couple of years ago with her, Bramble Rose, record. Although garnered by many critics as being an impressive debut record, many felt something was lacking in the production of the record. Don't be fooled though with Merritt's new release, Tambourine. It might just be one of this year's greatest surprises. I couldn't put it down once I began my first listen.
Tambourine, is as explosive musically as anything contemporary country music has given us this year. It's like a whirlwind of music from every possible avenue of an artistic discovery. Merritt does an extraordinary job with her mixture of music from everything reminiscent of her sweet southern blues to the pleasant soul voice that she plants into our hearts with every song. Merritt is a plain spoken songstress. She doesn't create anything to fancy and even allows her music to beam a ray of light into our consciousness. It's her own glory to unearth many new intention of how to make her music fun that makes this album such a joy to listen to. That is something to celebrate.
I know it sounds a little cliché by now, but there really isn't a single bad track on this record. Her musical appreciation is something that should not to be taken lightly. I give her a lot of credit finding the right music that fits her well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Tift Merritt is an amazing artist, and her vocals are spot-on on this well-assembled album. One of her best.Published 7 months ago by Are Bee Gee
Tift Merritt has a wonderful voice and great lyrics in her songs. The instrumental melodies and performance make the album a must for Rock/Folk/Country devotees.Published 22 months ago by Corsair
She has a one of kind beautiful voice. She is talented in that she not only sings wonderfully she also writes all of her songs. She is an amazing talent. Read morePublished on March 14, 2013 by ghee ghee b.
I think "Stray Paper" may have been the first Tift Merritt song I ever heard, and it's still one of my favorites---the strong acoustic guitar and her driving voice grab your... Read morePublished on April 5, 2012 by N. Babineau
A pure, unsynthesized voice that's got it all over the Shania Twain's and Taylor-whats-her-faces.
Onstage charisma that works overtime. Read more