Tift Merritt

Sunday, April 13

Only fans of Crystal Gayle would find Tift Merritt “rugged.” Yet compared to her brand new jam, Another Country, that’s exactly what her two previous albums sound like. So yeah, on the surface it appears as if the alt-country babe is actually descending into AOR hell, where Starbucks, not Hades shits out little tarts like KT Tunstall and Kate Voegele. Listen closely, however, and you’ll soon notice that Another Country is a savvy update of mid ’70s country rock a la the first Eagles record (which totally rules, by the way). On tracks like “I Know What I’m Looking For” and “Something to Me” Merritt bakes Southern soul in a dazzling California sun. Hell, she even understands the vital differences between breezy soft-rock and syrupy elevator music. Just awesome. With Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 8:30 p.m. $17 adv./$20. JUSTIN F. FARRAR

Sun., April 13, 8:30 p.m., 2008

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