Tift Merritt and Simone Dinnerstein - Night
“Night sounds like a judgment, nobody speaks on your behalf,” sings Tift Merritt on the title track of this startling collection. A collaboration with friend Simone Dinnerstein, it combines Merritt's alt.country roots with Dinnerstein's classical piano, and it’s that devastating take on Patty Griffin’s ‘Night’ that sets the tone. This is a sombre, intimate affair and the song choices serve both well. With both performing solo as well as together, Night is dark but compelling.
Fans of Americana and left-field country will know Merritt well. Her 2012 album Travelling Alone was tremendous, a sharp reminder to an ever burgeoning scene that she remains one of its most valuable assets. The voice, warm, rich, with a delicious rasp, grows in authority. Dinnerstein’s reputation is built partly on her 2007 self-financed recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Together, they make fire. Highlights include Dinnerstein solo on ‘The Cohen Variations’, Daniel Felsenfeld’s exploratory reworking of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Suzanne’ and Merrit solo and singing free and true on her own ‘Still Not Home’. But those solo turns serve only to make you hungry for their deftly arranged duets and it's those moments – such as that arresting title track or their pointed take on ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ - that make Night deeply, darkly rewarding.