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Tift Merritt: A Song For Every 'Mixtape'

You wouldn't necessarily know from Tift Merritt's beautiful and aching folk-rock album See You on the Moon that she was once nominated for a Grammy as a country singer, but Merritt is the type of disarming talent who can easily coax her way into any genre. Always a storyteller, Merritt infuses the follow-up to her acclaimed 2008 album Another Country with a personal and conversational approach that recalls the work of Joni Mitchell.

Mixing soft roots-rock with a touch of '70s glam, "Mixtape" faithfully captures the nostalgia attached to the mostly bygone plastic representation of young and uncertain love. Sure, someone else technically wrote those words, but they express exactly how you feel, right? Merritt confesses the difficulty of finding "the perfect way, which album to say, I la la la love you." But the earnestness and dedication that goes into a mixtape is a surefire way to someone's heart -- if that someone appreciates the right music, anyway. "I'm just making you mixtapes with homemade covers / Mazzy Star, Donovan's 'Colours.' " With a simple melody and solemn lyrics, Merritt produces the custom-made opening track for your own meta mixtape, even if you put it on your iPod instead.

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Afton Lorraine Woodward