Tift Merritt

One of the dumbest “next so-and-so” comparisons ever uttered occurred at Denver’s Filmore Auditorium not long after Tift Merritt’s breakthrough album, Tambourine, was released in 2005. Merritt was opening for Elvis Costello, few in the audience knew who she was, and the P.A. announcer told them that she was “the next Lucinda Williams.” Bullshit: While Williams is a rough-hewn genius for whom popular recognition came hard, Merritt is another animal entirely, the rare alt-country artist with the looks and polish to hold her own with the Underwoods and Swifts of the prairie. Yet that’s a ring she’s yet to really enter. While it looks a little weird seeing such an all-American beauty play in honky-tonk settings, eventually Merritt’s chops win over even the most cynical No Depressionist. “Sunday,” off her 2002 debut, Bramble Rose, remains one of the great underappreciated country ballads of the last decade. With Elizabeth & the Catapult. MIKE SEELY

Tue., Nov. 16, 8 p.m., 2010

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