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Tift Merritt

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Raleigh NC, United States (1998 – present)

Catherine Tift Merritt (born January 8, 1975, in Houston, Texas, but moved to Raleigh, North Carolina soon after) is a critically acclaimed American singer-songwriter, musician. She is currently based in New York.

Merritt’s father taught her guitar chords and Percy Sledge songs. She began her professional career in 1998 with her band The Carbines playing small clubs. In her early twenties, though Tift had gigged by herself, she decided she was not very good at music and better suited for writing short stories. She and her dog Lucy started school at UNC to study creative writing. There, she met Zeke Hutchins, whose band had just taken a hiatus and who had decided to become a school teacher. With his encouragement and a big box of LPs from the 70’s that they both liked, they started a band. Zeke set drums up in the kitchen of Tift’s farmhouse on the outskirts of town, and they practiced songs at her red piano. The Carbines played Chapel Hill haunts like the Cave, the Cat’s Cradle, and the front porch of the General Store in Bynum, NC. Tift also made a guest appearance on the Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt EP.

In 2000, Tift won Merlefest’s Chris Austin Songwriting contest, and with the help of Ryan Adams, found herself with a manager and a recording contract with Lost Highway records.

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