Tift Merritt is back home in Raleigh. After spending years in New York City, the North Carolina native took the advice of friends—including Hiss Golden Messenger's M.C. Taylor—and headed south to have her first baby and see what her hometown had to offer. Before making the move, Merritt managed to record a new album called Stitch Of The World.
She describes her craft as, "the humble work of marking life by writing." There's a real discipline to this work.
"I think I've had far more moments where, you know, light came in by sitting at my desk and reporting for duty," she said. "I can count on less than one hand the times where it just showed up."
The song "My Boat" is a declaration of inclusiveness with the lyrics, "No one will be denied on my boat." The lyrics come from the Raymond Carver poem of the same name. The song was inspired by news reports of Syrian refugees desperate to make sea crossings to Europe to escape civil war in their home country.
"This is just begging to be sung," she said. "The sentiment is just beautiful."
Merritt moved home to North Carolina from New York City after the birth of her daughter. She says it's bittersweet, because she misses the way New Yorkers embrace their individuality.
"I think adulthood is having two-to-seven feelings at a time and being able to sit with them all," she said.
Still, she says it's invaluable to to return to her roots, and to see her parents often.
"I've always had much of myself planted here," she said. "North Carolina is my home."