Bramble Rose

Bramble Rose

4.8 5
by Tift Merritt

Tift Merritt may be a newcomer, but she and her music are here to stay. Imagine a less jaded, more optimistic Lucinda Williams who buttresses her introspective country-folk ballads with righteous, Stones-style rock 'n' roll, and you'll have an idea of where Merritt is coming from. Whereas Williams's beautiful…  See more details below


Tift Merritt may be a newcomer, but she and her music are here to stay. Imagine a less jaded, more optimistic Lucinda Williams who buttresses her introspective country-folk ballads with righteous, Stones-style rock 'n' roll, and you'll have an idea of where Merritt is coming from. Whereas Williams's beautiful Essence found the artist at loggerheads with God and various lovers, on Bramble Rose, Merritt's still fighting the good fight, finding purpose even in moments when clouds darken her world and reasons to believe in herself when others don't. Her songwriting is captivating, both in its eloquence and in an indirectness that opens up the lyrics to manifold interpretations. Whether it's a lush, acoustic ballad keyed by mandolins and moaning pedal steel lines, as on the title song, or a scalding put-down of a feckless lover fueled by razor-edged guitar solos and a powerhouse rhythm section, as in "Neighborhood," Merritt casts herself as a romantic with an edge -- the edge being that she can lament the things gone wrong without losing faith in a bountiful future. As a singer and a writer, she's already at the top of her game on the steady-rolling "Virginia, No One Can Warn You," the neo-honky-tonk workout "Diamond Shoes," and the country blues ballad "Are You Still in Love with Me," which ably balances wariness and hopefulness. Tift Merritt figures to be flying through the radar for a long time.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
In his short story Billy the Kid, Steve Earle spun the tale of a fresh-faced kid who arrived in Nashville with a handful of brilliant songs, cut a stone classic album, scored a record deal most musicians would give their eye teeth to get, and married the girl of his dreams, all in a few weeks before cruel fate caught up with him. While one can only hope the powers that be have a more generous final act planned for Tift Merritt, listening to her first solo album (she'd released an album with the Two Dollar Pistols), Bramble Rose, is a reminder that such things could possibly happen in the real world. If Bramble Rose is a bit short of perfect, it leaves no doubt that Merritt is already a talent of the first order. As a singer, she has a simply gorgeous vocal instrument (imagine the passion of Lucinda Williams and the real-world twang of Iris Dement fused with the silky beauty of Emmylou Harris), and her songs are nearly as impressive as her vocals. At 27, Merritt's lyrical perspective speaks of the often-unfortunate twists and turns of fate, but without bitterness or spite, and she can jump from the wistful sway of "Virginia, No One Can Warn You" to the R&B-influenced bite of "Neighborhood" and back to the classic weeper style of the title cut without missing a step or ever sounding less than committed or convincing. Merritt also has the good fortune of having a superb backing band who support her songs with grace and impeccable taste, and producer Ethan Johns gets this music on tape with a sound that's at once intimate and comfortably wide open. It's difficult to imagine that an artist whose previous recording experience amounted to one self-released 45 and a split EP could turn in an album so strong and well-crafted, but it's even harder to imagine that listeners are likely to hear many debut albums nearly as good as Bramble Rose in the final six months of 2002, and by all rights this should be the first offering in a long and successful career for Tift Merritt.
Entertainment Weekly
There's a little honky-tonk sass and a lot of rueful reflection in this alt-country corker, which sneaks up on you à la Emmylou's or Lucinda's quieter triumphs.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Lost Highway


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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tift Merritt   Primary Artist,Piano,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals
Julianna Raye   Harmony
Benmont Tench   Piano,Celeste,Harmonium,Hammond Organ
Ethan Johns   Guitar,Mandolin,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Hammond Organ,Ukulele,chamberlain,Omnichord
C.C. White   Harmony
Greg Readling   Dobro
Zeke Hutchins   Drums
Jay Brown   Bass,Harmony

Technical Credits

Ethan Johns   Producer,Engineer
Doug Sax   Mastering
Stephen Rhodes   Engineer
Karen Naff   Art Direction
Stephen Rhodes   Engineer

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Bramble Rose 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tift Merritt is amazing on so many levels. She has a voice that is definitely up there with Emilou, Lucinda, and the other greats. On top of that, she can compose and write some brilliant songs. Plus, she is only in her 20's and is on her way to a long career.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked-up a demo copy at a second-hand CD store. What luck! How else would I ever have heard Tift? Certainly not on the radio where I'm from. I may be old-fashioned, but I like catchy tunes I can tap my foot to with understandable lyrics I can sing along with. The lyrics, musicianship, and singing make this a strong first release.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms.Tift Merritt is beautiful and brainy. Ms.Tift Merritt is remarkable singer-songwriter and gifted guitarist. Ms.Tift Merritt’s first album is so strong that even the experienced ears could easily believe that she has been in the music business professionally for at least five years. Supported by a superb backing band (Thanks especially to Mr.Ethan Johns & Mr.Benmont Tench), Ms.Merritt sings her impressive songs with impressive vocals. The more you listen to “Bramble Rose”, the more you believe that there will always be some talented country artists daring to hit the less traveled highways with the cars of Ms.Emmylou Harris & Ms.Lucinda Williams. “Bramble Rose” is a classy country-rock plus folk-rock with a sprinkle of gospel. There is not one weak song out of the 11 tracks and is just an excellent CD overall. Future is looking real good for Ms.Merritt. May she have a long and successful career.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago