LIVE: Tift Merritt @ The Linda, 4/1/17

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Wielding a guitar and playing piano, singer-songwriter Tift Merritt returned to WAMC-FM’s The Linda last month to kick off the April concert calendar. With an inviting smile and a young girl’s gaiety, she captivated the Saturday night standing-room-only audience with her songs, anecdotes and humor. From the first song to her last, Merritt turned the concert venue into her living room and invited all of us to join her there.

Having taken a year off from touring to get in touch with her inner thoughts and creativity, Merritt emerged from her self-imposed exile revitalized and with a tremendous and powerful new album, Stitch of the World, co-produced by Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam. With a baker’s dozen new songs in hand (and dozens from her previous albums), she packed her bags, grabbed her guitars and headed out on the road to share her music with audiences all around the land.

Fortunately for Greater Nippertown fans, The Linda was one of those tour stops…

Accompanying Merritt on acoustic guitar as well as pedal steel guitar, Eric Heywood proved to be a master of both instruments. The opening performer, Alexandra Sauser-Monning, also joined in on a generous handful of songs, adding her vocal talents as a harmony singer to the nearly 90-minute set.

Merritt’s bridging of old-time acoustic country and contemporary singer-songwriter folk isn’t a revelation in either of those music worlds, but no one on today’s musical landscape is doing it as seamlessly and beautifully as she does. She deserves a listen if you love either or both styles of music. After filling The Linda chock-full of fans, it will be interesting to see where she plays next once the word about her gets out.

LIVE: Tift Merritt @ The Linda, 6/11/10

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