Tift Merritt has never fit neatly in the career seams sewn for her. Too modest to be the next Shelby Lynne, too restless to find the following of Lucinda Williams, the North Carolina native nevertheless earned such comparisons. Her finest album, Tambourine, is soaked in country soul and gospel grace, and her most recent record, See You on the Moon, succeeds with modern folk-pop consciousness. Its great single "Mixtape" takes a bedroom handclap loop and builds nervous strings, electric piano and her ardent, breathy alto through the familiar image of the lonely heart doting over a cassette mix. Merritt may never be an Americana star selling millions of copies, but she doesn't need to be. She's one of the most reliable and heartbreaking singer-songwriters working today.
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