First Last-Tift Merritt

July 17, 2012

“Songstress Tift Merritt is a North Carolina native. Her father taught her guitar chords and Percy Sledge songs. With her longtime band, she has built a unique and critically acclaimed body of work of sonic short stories and poignant performances. In 2009, Tift married longtime collaborator Zeke Hutchins. They live in NYC. Tift loves surfing, singing with her longtime bass player Jay Brown, farmers’ markets, independent record stores, anything French, and thunderstorms. If you can’t find her, she has probably rented an apartment with a piano in a town where she doesn’t know anyone and will be back before too long.”

Tift and her band return to Pittsburgh tomorrow at the Carnegie Music Hall in Homestead supporting Mary Chapin Carpenter. My thanks to Tift for participating in this edition of First/Last.

  • The first album you ever bought?
  • Jeez, I’m not quite sure but I remember having The Beach Boys’ ‘Help Me Rhonda’ on 7-inch as a child and playing it non-stop.
  • Your last album bought?
  • Tom Waits’ “Bad As Me” was the last CD I bought. I bought a bunch of Jean Shepherd vinyl recently too.
  • Favorite album of all time?
  • Not a fair question but “Blonde On Blonde” is, most days, the answer.
  • Least favorite/most disappointing album?
  • I was taught to never answer questions like this by my southern mother.
  • First concert attended?
  • I think I saw James Taylor when I was a kid. I was really shy. I remember a feeling of sensory overload at such a big group events. Once I lived in Chapel Hill, I started going to clubs and seeing great music in small venues. That was more my speed.
  • Last concert?
  • Sharon Van Etten & The War On Drugs at the Bowery Ballroom.
  • Favorite concert ever?
  • A lot of times my favorite concerts are when I really get my mind blown musically. I recently toured with Nick Lowe and that was an amazing music lesson every night, no wasted motion in that band. The first time I ever played with Emmylou Harris, she sang harmony on a song of mine. My momtold me I just had gotten everything I’d ever wanted for Christmas that day. That was probably my favorite concert.
  • Least favorite concert?
  • It just isn’t good karma to talk about this kind of thing!
  • Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
  • Once, we were on tour and had a day off in Pittsburgh. We somehow found Le Pommier and had one of the best tour band meals of all time. Their steak sandwich is legendary in our band. We were devastated when we heard about their fire!

Thanks, Tift. Looking forward to your show tomorrow. Your South Park gig several years ago was just so great!