Rolling Stone - p.813 stars out of 5
- "There's not a dud among the dozen tracks, a testament to Merritt's talent as both a distinctive singer and writer."
Spin - p.120
"She can sound brand-new and busted-down in the same verse, and she sings like a guitar player." - Grade: B+
Entertainment Weekly - p.123
"Merritt's voice is a magical combination of cool reserve and effortless warmth..." - Grade: A-
Uncut - p.1094 stars out of 5
- "[T]he key lies in the expressive pull and dew-on-the-vine purity of her remarkable voice."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1163 stars out of 5
- "[T]his one finds her with a steelier determination in her country soul and an inclination to rock out that she's only previously hinted at."
Personnel: Tift Merritt (vocals); Mike Campbell , Neal Casal (guitar); Robert Randolph (pedal steel guitar); Patrick Warren (celesta, chamberlin); Lance Morrison (bass instrument); Don Heffington (drums); Gary Louris, Maria McKee (background vocals).
Following in the footsteps of alt-country icons Shelby Lynne, Allison Moorer, and Maria McKee, Tift Merritt gilds her sophomore effort, TAMBOURINE, with country-inflected soul, a stylistic crossroads where Nashville and Muscle Shoals meet. Teaming up with Black Crowes/Jayhawks producer George Drakoulias, Merritt doles out healthy servings of roots-rock that include the chugging "Your Love Made a U-Turn" (with its bubbling bass and chirping harmonies), the jangly "Stray Paper," and the organ-smothered "Wait It Out."
Blessed with a voice reminiscent of a breathier Dusty Springfield, the native Texan has earned plenty of praise from her peers, resulting in a few noteworthy guests popping up on this outing. Pedal-steel virtuoso Robert Randolph checks in on the rollicking "I Am Your Tambourine," while McKee and Jayhawk Gary Louris harmonize on the twangy "Late Night Pilgrim" and the bittersweet "Write My Ticket." But make no mistake, Merritt's chops allow her to forge her own way. When she tucks her croon amid the Memphis Horns-flavored arrangements of "Good Hearted Man," there's no difficulty discerning the gal's soul pedigree. With TAMBOURINE, Tift Merritt takes another step towards gaining a foothold in the world of insurgent country.