First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2004, Volume 11, #10
Written by T.J. Simon
Tift Merritt’s debut Bramble Rose was an alt-country gem that featured a thoroughly enjoyable, rock-infused sound and frequently reflected the music of Lucinda Williams, Bonnie Raitt, and Sheryl Crow. Her latest effort Tambourine continues along this path, at least in part, most notably via the haunting, slide guitar drenched Stray Paper and the vocal perfection of Wait It Out. The other half of the album, however, heads in an entirely different direction, and as a result, the collection likely will be remembered as her gear-shifting foray into the world of blue-eyed soul. In this manifestation, her sound is an amalgam of Dusty Springfield, Joan Osborne, and The Commitments, and backed by the Texicali Horns as well as a delicious group of female vocalists, Merritt is able to pay homage to soul’s glory days while fully avoiding the minstrel show permutations peddled by Hall & Oates. I Am Your Tambourine is anchored by a stirring blast of boogie-woogie piano, and the mega-catchy Shadow in the Way offers another shining example of Merritt’s versatility. While there’s nothing particularly original or groundbreaking on Tambourine, Merritt’s credible performance, as well as that of her supporting cast, makes this disc a true pleasure.
Of Further Interest...
Tambourine is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box