Album: Tift Merritt, Traveling Alone (YepRoc)
Tift Merritt seems torn between wanderlust and homesickness on Traveling Alone, which – partly thanks to the assistance of guitarists Marc Ribot and Eric Heywood, and Calexico drummer John Convertino – sounds like her best album yet.
Tracks like "Still Not Home" and "Traveling Alone" find her itchily hankering to move on, keen to confront her destiny. But there's an obvious yearning for the security of stability in "Sweet Spot" and "Feeling of Beauty". There's a tough edge to her country-rock style, with hard, sleek guitars animating the horticultural erotica of "Spring" ; but her vocals are most impressively showcased "Drifted Apart", a fatalistic break-up duet with Andrew Bird about "growing into what you are", even if that takes you away from someone.
Download: Traveling Alone; Drifted Apart; Spring
tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
Christmas Day TV guide 2014: What to watch from Strictly Come Dancing to the story of Frozen
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Felicity Jones on being Stephen Hawking's wife in The Theory of Everything: 'I didn't want her to be a saint'
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader