While writing her last studio album in Paris, New York-via-North Carolina songstress Tift Merritt began taking photographs to maintain her flow of creativity and help convey what her music couldn’t when she ran out words. For the first time, the companion images to her 2008 album, Another Country, will be available to the public in an exhibition called Other Countries at Raleigh’s The Mahler art gallery.
After an extended tour for Another Country, Merritt will make a stop in Raleigh on May 1 and promote both her photography and her latest album, Buckingham Solo, an acoustic album recorded last November. (Pre-order here.) Her opening reception for Other Countries will precede “An Evening with Tift Merritt." She will play solo at the Fletcher Opera Theater.
In a 2008 interview, Merritt discussed her new hobby with CMT: “I think it’s really important to speak without words sometimes,” she said. “I will get words stuck in my head to the point where I can’t sleep, so this was a great way for me to get outside of that.”
The exhibition captures the boundaries of social relationships that make individuals seem like separate countries. Highlights include a chance encounter with a stranger in a flea market mirror, a tangled army of stationary bikes on a brick sidewalk, and an oblivious crowd passing underneath a canopy of bras for sale.
In that vein of isolation, she recorded her new live acoustic album in an old stone church in Buckingham, England. Her only companions were a guitar and piano, some favorite tunes, and a couple of unreleased songs. Her concert will follow the same format as the April 18th release.
The Mahler will host a preview and artist reception of Other Countries on April 30, 7-9 p.m. and an opening reception May 1, 6-9 p.m. Tickets for the 8 p.m. concert are available at Ticketmaster.com and the Progress Energy Center box office.