When Tift Merritt’s debut LP, Bramble Rose, was released in 2002, it signaled the arrival of an exciting new voice in the burgeoning musical movement known as Americana. The winner of the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2000, Merritt signed with Lost Highway and released Bramble Rose, which contained 11 self-penned tunes and landed on a number of year-end “best” lists. On February 19th, Merritt’s current label home, Yep Roc Records, will issue the long out-of-print LP in a vinyl-only limited edition.
“There was so much sweetness in that time, something pure in making a first record,” Merritt said in a statement, commenting on the experience shared with her band members. “When I think of how all the miles I’ve seen began with this little seed, it gives me a great deal of hope.”
Merritt found a long-lasting fan of the album in Eagles singer-drummer Don Henley, who chose to cover the title track of “Bramble Rose” for Cass County, his first solo LP in 15 years. His version features special guests Miranda Lambert and Mick Jagger. Henley, who topped the country chart with the album, told Newsweek of the tune, “I’d wanted to record that song ever since I heard it.”
On February 26th, Merritt and her band will perform Bramble Rose in its entirety during a special performance at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, North Carolina. While there are no plans to reissue the album on other formats, the LP is available on iTunes.