From the Tuesday Night Music Club styling job for the cover shot of Tift Merritt, it would appear that that Lost Highway has finished its Sheryl Crow makeover. But while the alt-country twang has been banished from Tambourine (named for the instrument her former drummer plays now that the band's been replaced by session jobbers), Merritt hasn't yet been musically moulded into a stadium-rocking Crow clone. Instead, she appears to be using Maria McKee and Joss Stone as models for the 60s soul throwback bid orchestrated by producer George Drakoulias. Unfortunately, Drakoulias's idea of R&B is the Black Crowes doing Hard To Handle, and Merritt lacks the pipes and the funky disposition to pull off covers of James Carr demos. Her attempts at soul shouts come off like petulant whining. Yikes.
Tift Merritt plays Lee's Palace Sunday October 7.