Of her new album, See You On The Moon, Tift Merritt says her message is “direct." She and her bandmates "didn’t want to talk about this record," she says. "We just wanted to play it." The result? An honest, personal album full of beautiful melodies and poignant lyrics—a fitting showcase of Merritt’s country roots and soulful heart.
Stand out tracks are “Engine to Turn," a mature, compassionate take on an often overwhelming world, and “Never Talk About It," a simple, quiet reflection on the difficulty of saying what you mean. While Merritt has a deep affection for all of the tracks on the album, her favorites include “Feel of the World,” written from the point of view of a grandfather she never met, and “See You On the Moon,” about a neighbor who looked out for her and a three-legged dog.
Since her 2002 debut, Bramble Rose, Merritt says she’s “tried to become more open, less judgmental, and less afraid” in her songwriting. “I’ve settled deeper into myself. It sounds a little simplified, but I think a lot of writing, and music especially, is just getting yourself out of the way. The more experience you have with that the less you are going into it with something to prove.” She adds, “I’ve always been very genuine about my feelings, but I think I’ve gotten better at putting myself aside and letting the work take over. That takes practice and I still have a long way to go. You discover something and then you realize the bottom of the well is suddenly a whole lot deeper.”
Yet, Merritt is an artist who doesn’t confine her creations to music alone. Between writing and recording, she produces a monthly radio show called The Spark for KRTS in Marfa, Texas (exploring what makes her favorite poets, painters, and musicians tick) and dabbles in photography (her first solo gallery exhibition, “Other Countries,” was last year). “I want my life to be richer than albums. When I’m making work it comes out in other ways or it needs other things, it needs to get out of my head. So I end up picking up a camera, or I need to get away from myself and I really just want to talk to other artists.” Sage advice garnered from her radio show, and what she herself keeps in mind, is that “the reward is the work in and of itself. You have to love the work, everything else is come and go.”
See You On The Moon is out now; for more information and upcoming tour dates go to tiftmerritt.com.