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Comment: This CD comes in a library case. The CD is in playable condition, although I recommend cleaning disc before use.
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Traveling Alone CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Traveling Alone
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Editorial Reviews

For Traveling Alone, Tift Merritt's Yep Roc Records label debut, Merritt put together her dream cast to make a record that was real, raw and live off the floor. Recorded in Brooklyn in 8 days, this album was produced by Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket), features a guest appearance by Andrew Bird and a band that includes Marc Ribot (Tom Waits), Eric Heywood (Pretenders, Son Volt), John Convertino (Calexico) and longtime collaborator Jay Brown. These songs were written and traveled by Tift Merritt.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 2, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
  • ASIN: B0089N7RWO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,139 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kerry Moon on October 11, 2012
Format: Audio CD
You'd think after four albums, Tift Merritt might run out of good songs. But no, "Traveling Alone" doesn't waste a chord. And while they're all good, a couple more make the List of Tift's great songs.

Tift's debut album, Bramble Rose, contains her earliest work, among them several masterpieces including "Trouble over Me" and "Are You Still in Love with Me." Later came "Still Pretending," "Mille Tendresses," "Keep You Happy," all beautiful love songs with more than a little poignancy (I guess Mille Tendresses fits that category - it's in French).

My favorite song on her previous album is "Papercut," and there's something there that foreshadows the melancholy undercurrent of "Traveling Alone."

Tift Merritt has matured nicely as an artist and as a woman. She's remained strong in the face of adversity, and she's remained true to herself. She's never sold out, but she's never given up.

Each of her albums maintains an old-school sense of the record as a whole, not just a collection of songs. "Traveling Alone" fully accomplishes that aspiration.

You'll really need to read the book of lyrics accompanying the record to get the full benefit of Tift's poetry. But of course you'll have to listen to the record to get the full benefit of Tift's music. And her voice is the cherry on Jack Horner's thumb.

The song that grabs me by the heartstrings is "Too Soon to Go." The melody is truly beautiful, and the words will make you cry.

The song that best captures the essence of the album is "Spring." Is it optimistic or fatalistic? Is Tift Merritt reflecting on the struggles and disappointments of life, or reveling in the rewards of the struggle? "It is a mystery like a lover's touch, brings a blossom from a winter's bud ...
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Format: Audio CD
I am not YET prepared to declare this is Tift's best recording effort to date. However, I am prepared to say it feels like her most organically consistent and delightful work and to declare it as my favorite.

I've been reveling in Traveling Alone since obtaining a copy at Tift's CD release celebration on 9/21 in Carrboro, NC. Suffice it to say, Tift serves up a sensuously satisfying eleven course musical meal; eleven elegantly simple and straightforward songs deliciously seasoned to cook at a low simmer. This album is so understated and subtle that I predict you'll find it imperceptibly sneaking up on you until, by the conclusion of this meal, you realize your feeling satiated and not wanting the afterglow to end - which by the standards of any musical cookbook, is the mark of a great album and impeccable taste.
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Format: Audio CD
Because it's fairly obvious I have a soft spot for female writers and musicians, I get more than my share of CDs by female singer-songwriters. Most seem doomed --- they're not Nashville, they're not pop, and on the few college radio stations that champion American Roots, the genre generally begins and ends with Emmylou Harris.

But "Another Country" made me hopeful about a singer I knew nothing about. Tift Merritt's songs were smart and soft and deep, and she had a honey voice that a country singer would kill for, and, on the CD cover, she was beautiful in a girl-next-door way.

Fool that I am, I thought I could help her break out of the pack.

So we met.

Our conversation was thoroughly confusing. Tift Merritt is an astonishingly nice person, not a mean bone in her body and all that. She is also tough bordering on ferocious. Not about getting somewhere, although she was clearly not immune to the charms of stardom --- her determination was about her work.

Fool that she is, she thought there was real value in making music that mattered, music that aspired to art.

"Traveling Alone" might just qualify. It could not be more timeless, less trendy. It has just the right proportion of kick-ass songs to whispered meditations. She's supported by first-class musicians and a highly regarded producer. It's so well written that a line like "beauty is defiance in the face of death" is a throwaway. Maybe, just maybe, the planets are aligned in her favor this time.

I couldn't resist a rematch.

JK: A CD has become a collection of 99 cent singles to download. But this feels like a real album, not a shot at single hits.

TM: Exactly.

JK: Isn't that suicidal?
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Tift's best album since Bramble Rose, her 2002 debut, in my opinion. Gorgeous, tender songwriting and such emotionally powerful singing. Her voice has seasoned so well, and these songs carry a powerful soulfulness. A great album that you'll want to listen to over and over again.
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Another outstanding album by Tift Merritt. Give me more time to absorb these songs (albums with depth like this one tend to take a long time for me to properly appreciate) and I might even give it 5 stars. It's that good. As another reviewer noted, this could be Tift's most cohesive collection of songs yet. Not a clunker in the bunch. In addition to solid tunes and lyrical depth, the band she has selected this time really propels things along. Marc Ribot on guitar was a fantastic choice.

This album reminds me of Emmylou Harris during her "Wrecking Ball" period of the past decade or so. There are similarities in the vocals, plus many of the songs share that same atmospheric Americana sound; not really country and not really rock, but a synthesis of the two genres. No matter what you call it, this is absorbing and enthralling music. If you enjoy artists such as Emmylou or Patty Griffin, then Tift Merritt is right up your musical alley.
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