Tift Merritt

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Tift Merritt
Merritt on stage in Silk Hope, NC in 2007.
Background information
Birth nameCatherine Tift Merritt [1]
Born (1975-01-08) January 8, 1975 (age 48) [2]
Houston, Texas
Origin Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Genres Country folk, Americana, alternative country
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Years active1998–present
Labels Lost Highway, Fantasy, Yep Roc
Website tiftmerritt.com

Catherine Tift Merritt (born January 8, 1975) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. She has released seven studio albums, two for Lost Highway Records, two for Fantasy Records, and three for Yep Roc Records.


Early life and education

Merritt was born in Houston and grew up in Raleigh. [2] She credits her father's eclectic taste in music as a major influence. [3] At the age of 20, Merritt enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study creative writing. [4]


Merritt joined a band called the Carbines and played small clubs in the cities of Chapel Hill and Raleigh. [5] In 1998, the band released a 7-inch single, "Jukejoint Girl," and in 1999 the album The Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt on Yep Roc Records. [6]

In 2000, Merritt won the MerleFest's Chris Austin Songwriting Contest [7] and in 2002 released her debut album, Bramble Rose . The record landed on the top ten lists for both Time and The New Yorker , and was called the best debut of the year by the Associated Press . [8] While touring to promote Bramble Rose, Merritt opened for fellow North Carolinian Ryan Adams, who had helped her secure her first management and record contracts. [9]

Her follow-up release, 2004's Tambourine , was produced by George Drakoulias and featured backing by Benmont Tench, Mike Campbell, Neal Casal and Don Heffington.[ citation needed ] The album was nominated for a best country album Grammy Award in 2004. [10] She was nominated for Americana Music Association: Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Song of the Year in 2005 [11] Merritt's performance on Austin City Limits was released as a DVD on New West Records. [12] A sold-out concert at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina, was released under the title Home Is Loud that same year. [13]

Another Country

Released on Fantasy Records in 2008, Another Country featured guitarist Charlie Sexton. Merritt wrote the album in a Paris apartment. [14] [15] Paste magazine gave the album a four-star review. [16] The song "Broken" was nominated for an Americana Music Award for Song of the Year. [17] [18] [19] While touring England, Merritt recorded the album Buckingham Solo, which was released on Fantasy Records in April 2009.[ citation needed ]

Merritt on stage in Seattle in 2010 Tift Merritt cs.jpg
Merritt on stage in Seattle in 2010

Her EP, Please Break the Silence of the Middle of the Night, was released later in 2008.[ citation needed ]

Merritt has been the opening act for Joan Baez, [20] Kris Kristofferson, [21] and sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" for then-Senator Barack Obama at his last campaign rally. [22]

See You on the Moon

Merritt's album, See You on the Moon, was released in June 2010 on Fantasy Records. [23] [24]

Traveling Alone, Merritt's first album on Yep Roc Records, was released in October 2012.[ citation needed ]


Merrit's sound has been described as "sonic short stories and poignant performances." [25] She has been compared to artists like Joni Mitchell [26] and Emmylou Harris. [27]

A review in The New Yorker praised her [27] and The Wall Street Journal included her in a weekend feature on singer-songwriters, describing her as "in the tradition of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Leonard Cohen". [26]

Personal life

In 2009, Merritt married Zeke Hutchins. [28] They separated in late 2013. [29] In 2016, she and Eric Haywood had a daughter named Jean. [30]


Studio albums

TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positionsSales
US Country
US Heat
US Indie
US Folk
Bramble Rose 47
  • Release date: August 24, 2004
  • Label: Lost Highway Records
Another Country 1561
See You on the Moon
  • Release date: June 1, 2010
  • Label: Fantasy Records
Traveling Alone104612
Night (with Simone Dinnerstein)
Traveling Companion (Traveling Alone expanded version)
  • Release date: October 2013
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
Stitch of the World
  • Release date: January 27, 2017
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Live albums

TitleAlbum details
Home Is Loud
  • Release date: 2005
  • Label: RCAM
Buckingham Solo
  • Release date: June 23, 2009
  • Label: Vella Recordings
Love Soldiers On (Concert at the Historic Playmakers Theatre)

Extended plays

TitleAlbum details
The Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt
Please Break the Silence of the
Middle of the Night
  • Release date: September 16, 2008
  • Label: Fantasy Records
Sweet Spot
  • Release date: January 24, 2012
  • Label: Yep Roc


YearSinglePeak positionsAlbum
US Country
2002"Neighborhood" [39] Bramble Rose
2004"Good Hearted Man"60Tambourine
"Stray Paper" [40]
2008"Broken"28Another Country
2010"Mixtape" [41] See You on the Moon
2012"To Myself" [42] Traveling Alone
2016"Dusty Old Man" [43] Stitch of the World
2017"Proclamation Bones" [44]
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos

2002"Virginia, No One Can Warn You"Douglas Avery [45]
2004"Good Hearted Man" Philip Andelman [46]
2008"Broken"Martyn Atkins [47]
2010"Engine to Turn"John Hulme [48]
2013"Only in Songs / Night and Dreams"

Appears on

Awards and nominations

2004 47th Grammy Awards Country Album of the Year – TambourineNominated
2005 Americana Music Association Album of the Year – TambourineNominated
Artist of the YearNominated
Song of the Year – "Good Hearted Man"Nominated
2008 Americana Music Association Song of the Year – "Broken"Nominated

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