Tift Merritt wanted to be a writer until her father taught her guitar chords and Percy Sledge songs. In her 20 year career, she has toured around the world with her sonic short stories and garnered a reputation for making her own way and setting an interesting artistic table.
The New Yorker calls her “the bearer of a proud tradition of distaff country soul that reaches back to artists like Dusty Springfield and Bobbie Gentry.” Emmylou Harris calls her “a diamond in a coal mine.”
Taking time off the road to raise her daughter, Merritt began work on larger, site specific projects, along the way collecting objects in an old motel and an abandoned asylum as forgotten, essential language. Merritt also collects artist interviews about process and integrity on The Spark, a series of Carolina Performing Arts. A regular contributor to the Oxford American, she lives in North Carolina with her daughter Jean.
At Big Ears 2022, Merritt will be artist-in-residence at the Jig & Reel, hosting several conversations with writers and musicians participating in the festival for her podcast, The Spark, and offering a pair of musical performances with special guests drawn from the festival.