Tift Merritt


Dusty Springfield’s classic 1969 album, Dusty in Memphis, turns up on a lot of favorite-record lists, and it’s become a benchmark whose magic a few contemporary female singer-songwriters have tried to recapture—e.g., Lucinda Williams and Shelby Lynne. Tift Merritt, on her second album for Lost Highway, aims for a similar target. Aided by sometimes heavy-handed producer George Drakoulias (Black Crowes and Maria McKee), who is relatively transparent here, Merritt hits her mark with a collection of a dozen mostly first-rate original songs that combine rock, country, blues and gospel into a traditionally Southern but thoroughly modern mix. Merritt is as good a singer as she is a songwriter, and her smoky alto imbues these mostly upbeat tunes with the requisite atmosphere. Dig Southern pop? Here you go.