Tift Merritt life and biography

Tift Merritt picture, image, poster

Tift Merritt biography

Date of birth : 1975-01-08
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Houston, Texas
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-03-01
Credited as : Country music singer, and songwriter, Quarter Moon

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Catherine Tift Merritt is an American singer-songwriter, musician and North Carolina native. With her longtime band, she has built what has been called a "unique" and critically-acclaimed body of work of "sonic short stories and poignant performances." She has been compared to songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris.

Born in Houston in 1975, Tift Merritt's family moved to North Carolina when she was young and she's lived there ever since. She first developed an interest in music when she was a child and learned to sing harmonies with her father, who had dabbled in folk music in his younger days. In her early teens, she picked up a guitar and her dad taught her her first four chords. While she was drawn to the rebellious spirit of punk and indie rock, she felt a greater emotional connection with acoustic-oriented artists, particularly Joni Mitchell.

Hearing Emmylou Harris' album Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town opened her ears to roots music and she soon began to immerse herself in North Carolina's active alt-country scene. She appeared on a semi-regular basis with the band the Two Dollar Pistols, singing duets with lead singer John Howie and playing rhythm guitar. She eventually appeared on a seven-song EP of classic country covers the group released in the fall of 1999.

Looking for a vehicle for her own songwriting, she formed a band in 1998 called the Carbines, which soon became a fixture on the North Carolina club scene. In early 2000, Merritt and the Carbines seemed poised to sign a contract with Sugar Hill Records, but the deal fell through at the last minute. When Merritt won the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at the annual 2000 Merlefest Music Festival, it sparked a new round of interest in her work. Ryan Adams brought Merritt to the attention of his manager, Frank Callari, and he began shopping a record deal for her. When he was hired as an A&R executive for the Universal-distributed roots music label Lost Highway, she became one of his first signings.

Her debut album Bramble Rose was released to enthusiastic reviews in June 2002. (While Merritt was signed as a solo act, she's continued to use the Carbines as her backing band, both for live shows and for the recording of Bramble Rose). Tambourine, a more soulful effort produced by George Drakoulias, appeared two years later.

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