Love Soldiers On - Tift Merritt

from the album Stitch Of The World (2017)

As I look back over five years of music blogging, I get sad, feeling that I have failed as a writer to articulate the central premise that has driven this absurd obsession.  You see, I don't necessarily write this blog out of a love for the songs, but instead out of love for the artists who write and perform them.

That is what attracts me to the wearisome troubadour, rambling along back roads to that next show, that next dive.  It is why I write about lesser known acts.  It is why you will rarely find me at a large venue.  Instead, I'm that guy asking the roadie-less singer if she needs a hand loading-in her amplifier across a meteor-ridden parking lot.

The troubadour is a metaphor for the person I have become.  A man of passion in a couldn't-care-less world, looking for a stage to showcase my talent, hoping someone might clap.

Yesterday, I read an essay written by Tift Merritt, for The Oxford American, about her current tour, this time with a newborn daughter in tow, where she wonders if this might be the end of the road.  It made me cry.  Perhaps I'm a softy.  Perhaps it hit too close to home.

I met Tift Merritt back in 2004, before she played a small gig at the Red Light Cafe in Atlanta.  She was so cool, excited about her music career, living a life that I had nearly embraced five years earlier.  I was jealous, wanting to drop it all, join her band, and hit the highway, vectoring towards that next Super 8 Motel.

Funny how our parallel paths seem to have led us to the same place.

All this shit is swirling in my head, as I sit in my backyard - a dog on each side and a tequila in my hand - listening to Tift Merritt's latest album, Stitch Of The World.  The song I'm digging most is Love Soldiers On.  It is a different kind of tune for her, a bit more Emmylou than the Dusty Springfield meets Bobby Gentry vibe I once equated her with.  Still I love it.  She cuts me to the core.

I keep thinking about that night, back in 2004.  Closing my eyes, and turning back the clock, as she belts out Good Hearted Man.  It still gives me chills.  Nights like that are why I dig this stuff.  I hope the road leads her, and all those other troubadours, to a happy, peaceful place.  I love them all.

Click Here to listen to Love Soldiers On.

Click Here to read Amps & Raisins, her essay written for The Oxford American.