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Tift Merritt at Birmingham Institute

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Highly regarded star tours the UK
Singer-songwriter Tift Merritt is touring the UK with her own show after performing a very special gig with classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein.

The country rock star from North Carolina plays Birmingham Institute on July 6 as part of her British tour which kicks off with the Dinnerstein collaboration at London's Southbank Centre's Purcell Rooms on July 1.

Tift Merritt
On tour: Tift Merritt

The duo will perform all of their album Night which was released in March and features new songs written for the duo by Brad Mehldau (I Shall Weep at Night) and Patty Griffin (Night), as well as Tift Merritt's own songs (Only in Songs, Still Not Home, Colors, Feel of the World), and classical selections (an arrangement of Schubert's Night and Dreams and Bach's Prelude in B minor).

The album also includes the world premiere recording of The Cohen Variations by Daniel Felsenfeld, a solo piano piece commissioned by Dinnerstein based on one of her favourite songs, Leonard Cohen's Suzanne.

Following the show 38-year-old Tift and her band will set off on their own tour, visiting Brighton, Bristol, Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham. Along the way they will appear at the Cornbury Festival in Oxford on July 7 and support Elton John at the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park on July 12.

Tift Merritt
Traveling Alone: Tift Merritt (pic: Parker Fitzgerald)

The tour will give Tift the opportunity to showcase tracks from her latest album, Traveling Alone, which features guest performances by Marc Ribot, Rob Burger, John Convertino, Eric Heywood and Merritt's longtime collaborator Jay Brown.

"I really wanted to make a record that was real and raw," Tift says. "I wanted to put together my dream cast and see if I could hold my own with them. To me, Traveling Alone is about the roads on the inside—those places that are hard to see and not easy to send postcards from."

Tift, who lives in New York with her husband and collaborator Zeke Hutchins, released her solo debut album, Bramble Rose, in 2002. Three more studio records followed, Tambourine, Another Country and See You on the Moon. She has toured with Iron & Wine, Elvis Costello and Emmylou Harris who enthused that she 'stood out like a diamond in a coal patch'.

Tift Merritt UK tour dates:
July 1: London Purcell Rooms (with Simone Dinnerstein);
July 4: Brighton The Haunt (Tift and band for all subsequent dates);
July 5: Bristol Thelka;
July 6: Birmingham Institute;
July 7: Cornbury Festival, Oxford;
July 8: Leeds Brudenell Social Club;
July 10: Glasgow Oran Mor;
July 11: Manchester Ruby Lounge;
July 12: London Hyde Park – British Summer Time Festival.

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Why? Hear new songs from Tift Merritt's album, Traveling Alone
When: Throughout July
Phone: 0121 643 0428
Where: The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham
Cost: £15
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