On the Beat

Tift Merritt’s choice cut: Don Henley

Triangle expatriate Tift Merritt got a nice out-of-the-blue surprise, a cover of one of her songs by Don Henley.
Triangle expatriate Tift Merritt got a nice out-of-the-blue surprise, a cover of one of her songs by Don Henley. Photo by Parker Fitzgerald.

Eagles drummer Don Henley is releasing his first solo album in 15 years this fall, “Cass County” (named after the Texas county where Henley grew up), a country record with cameo appearances by Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and others. It’s also got some bonafide Triangle content. “Cass County” opens with “Bramble Rose,” the title track of Tift Merritt’s 2002 debut album.

That’s a pretty good cut, given that Henley’s last solo album “Inside Job” sold more than a million copies. But the kicker is the two guests who appear on “Bramble Rose”: Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger and country star Miranda Lambert.

“Don Henley sent me this really lovely email, and reading it my jaw just kept dropping farther and farther,” Merritt says over the phone from her current hometown of New York. “It was amazing: ‘I’m recording your song, and Mick Jagger is singing on it, and Miranda Lambert is, too.’”

So far, Merritt has heard Henley’s version of “Bramble Rose” just once.

“I danced to it on Andrew Bird’s bus with a big drink my hand, which was a nice way to hear it,” she says with a laugh. “My philosophy is to just keep my head down and keep doing the best I can do. Whatever your job is in the world, you’ll have good days and bad days. And if you’re really lucky, occasionally you’ll get days where you go, ‘Oh my God, I need to remember this feeling because this is special.’ It was just such a surprise. You have to be grateful for the good ones.”

“Cass County” is due out Sept. 25 on Capitol Records, with a tour to follow. Durham is on the tour itinerary, according to Henley’s publicity minions, but there’s not a date or venue attached to that yet.

  Comments