Triangle singer & songwriter Tift Merritt got a coveted Grammy nomination.
Capitol Broadcasting Company and its radio station WRAL-FM make supporting localism a broadcasting mission and now one Triangle artist is seeing the positive results. Local singer/songwriter Tift Merritt’s sophomore album “Tambourine” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Album.
Merritt first came to the attention of CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon when both appeared at a hearing held by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about media consolidation in Durham in April of 2003. Endeared by Merritt’s charm, candor and well-spokenness, Goodmon sought a way to help her, a local artist, get on the air locally.
Although Merritt’s first album “Bramble Rose” has a country-bent and CBC’s radio station WRAL-FM has a more adult contemporary playlist, “Neighborhood” fit the bill and soon got airplay on the station. Merritt herself appeared live in the studio several times and helped WRAL-FM kick off a new program to feature local artists. Homegrown MIX airs every 3rd Sunday at 9pm.
After the April 2003 hearing, Merritt & Goodmon were both invited to participate in the first of six hearings for the FCC’s Localism Task Force. The hearing took place in Charlotte in October of 2003. Goodmon addressed the issue of broadcasters’ responsibilities to their local communities.
“To try to talk about localism without discussing media ownership is avoiding the issue,” said Merritt. “I’m not here to complain that I’m not the Queen of the Radio. I’m a NC musician and NC businessman. You’re looking at local.”
Merritt released “Tambourine” with her record label Lost Highway. She mentions CBC in the CD liner notes: “Thanks to WRAL in Raleigh NC, a maverick station with a big heart.”
Merritt chatted with WRAL-FM’s morning co-hosts Bill Jordan and Sheri Logan for their Friday, February 11, 2005 broadcast, right before Grammy weekend. The station has now added “Good Hearted Man” from the Grammy-nominated album to its playlist.
When they asked Merritt about her Grammy nomination she said, “It’s been a really fun couple of months knowing that. I’m thrilled and humbled.”
Merritt went up against country music legend Loretta Lynn, favorites Tim McGraw and Keith Urban, and newcomer Gretchen Wilson for the Grammy. Lynn took home the award for her collaboration with rocker Jack White, “Van Lear Rose.”
“I just feel like I’ve already won, to be in that type of company, to have my record beside Loretta Lynn’s and these artists who have done so well,” Merritt told a reporter for the Kansas City Star. “I feel very honored. Somebody really went out of their way to get my record on there.”
The Grammys aired live on WRAL-TV on Sunday, February 13, 2005, at 8pm.