Music » Critics' Picks

Tift Merritt

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There were big plans for Tift Merritt. To her first label, Lost Highway, the North Carolina-raised songwriter seemed an heir to Lucinda Williams and a competitor to Norah Jones. But something about her soul — restless and modest at once — got in the way, and so despite a Grammy nomination for the gospel- and R&B-charged 2004 suite Tambourine, Merritt was dropped and left to search that soul. She fled to Paris, a city of strangers, and wrote and wrote. The result is the eloquent and recondite Another Country, a finely glowing confession, like a cross between Joni Mitchell's For the Roses and Bonnie Raitt's Nick of Time. Merritt can write a hook, lifting choruses with stirring guitars and the tingling directness of her warm whisper. Mostly, though, she's looking for a way to remain true to herself, and finding it in her own vision of soulful, personal, modern country music. — Roy Kasten

9 p.m. Thursday, September 11. Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City. $15. 314-727-2277.

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