It took Tift Merritt four years, a label change, and a sojourn to Paris, where she knew virtually no one and didn't speak the language, to craft her third release. She recounts the Paris part of the story in the liner notes and the explanation clarifies both the disc's title and reflective, personal songs such as "I Know What I'm Looking for Now" ("this world will mix you up and bring you down, but I know what I'm looking for now"). Producer George Drakoulias returns from her last album, as does most of her touring band, but the sound is more muted and less insistent than on the Dusty in Memphis styled Tambourine.
Tift Merritt’s third album is a thoughtful and self-assured venture that confidently raises the bar for what country music can sound like. Merritt sings with a quiet, controlled grace that’s so pretty, it’s soothing. That’s not to say her music can be described as simplistic easy listening. Her songwriting has a clarity of voice and storytelling comparable to the hushed determination of 60s female folk singers.
Another Country, the third album from Tift Merritt, was recorded with alt-country guru George Drakoulias, who also produced the singer’s 2004 record, Tambourine. Rather than standing pat on the singer’s past successes, the duo took a group of songs Merritt wrote during her time as an American in Paris and turned them into a set of roots-rock beamed in from the good part of '70s radio. Another Country should be listened to from beginning to end, preferably on vinyl.
After becoming one of alt-country’s great female hopefuls, the twang-loving, acoustic-guitar-strumming Tift Merritt is drifting away from her acclaimed sound. On her third CD, Another Country, she competently mixes elements of folk, rock, and soul — embracing her inner Joni Mitchell on sparse lullabies (”Keep You Happy”), then leading a brass charge on bluesy numbers (”Tell Me Something True”). As for her country roots? There’s the occasional splash of lap-steel to appease fans, but not nearly enough for the diehards among them.