Tift Merritt's last recording, 2004's Tambourine, was a wonderful emulation of Dusty Springfield's adventurous foray into Memphis soul, complete with greasy Stax horns, raucous piano and guitar work, and soulful vocals to define Merritt's fundamentally country songs. Four years later Merritt finally returns with Another Country (Fantasy), which is not only quite another thing, but also inspired by foreign residency (in Paris). Most of the album consists of introspective country-pop-folk songs that Merritt sings with a certain brittle diffidence, relying on her expressive voice's inherent prettiness. But she reconnects with an extraordinary reservoir of soul on "Morning Is My Destination," which percolates on a superb mix of billowy organ and terse electric guitar phrases. Meanwhile, "Tell Me Something True" revives the Stax sound, while "My Heart Is Free" rocks out. Tennessee's the everybodyfields are an alt-country band built around the achingly intertwined vocals of Jill Andrews and Sam Quinn. Their gorgeously melancholy songs drip with fiddle and lap steel while getting occasional kicks of irony from snarly electric guitars.
Sun., April 6, 7:30 p.m., 2008