Star rating - 8/10
At the Ruby Lounge this weekend Tift Merrit demonstrated not only what a beautiful clear voice she has, but also just how good her songs sound when she sings them live with her band. It was a chilled, intimate easy Sunday evening atmosphere with seats, tables, candles and everything.
And you wouldn't think it to hear her, or see her youthful exuberance, but this talented American alt-country singer has been producing consistently great music for a decade now. The beautiful title track from her first record all those years ago, Bramble Rose, was one of the highlights of the set. She does sad and haunting very well, like Drifting Apart from her latest album Traveling Alone - and it had a simply gorgeous pedal steel accompaniment. As did the beautiful Sweet Spot.
She does a great line in relationship observations - Too Soon to Go, and Traveling Alone sounded particularly good. But she can also rock it up with the best of them as on Still Not Home. As is so often the case many of the tracks sound so much better live with a great band than they do on record - good as they are.
Tift Merrit may not be one of the most famous female country singers around, but she is probably one of the nicest. Her easy, charming manner transmits to her band and her audience. Aside from her lovely vocals, she's a talented musician and song writer too - if she's slipped under your radar so far, and like me you are a sucker for a beautiful voice and a spot of pedal steel, then you are advised to check her out.