The Concord Music Group Difference, According to Tift Merritt


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One of the comments that cropped up consistently in my reporting for our story running in Saturday's Business section on the Concord Music Group is that the people who run and work at the company are dyed-in-the-wool music fans, which isn't always the case in the record business these days.

So I asked Tift Merritt, the Houston-born, North Carolina-reared singer and songwriter whose second album for the Concord-owned Fantasy label, “See You On the Moon," is coming out June 1, how her experience with Concord differs from what she encountered at other record labels. She replied via e-mail with a list of reasons.

“What is so special about Concord is the people there," she wrote. “My introduction to Concord was when [vice president of A&R artist and content development] Robert Smith gave me a call. We immediately fell into conversation about Eudora Welty stories and Robert Frank photographs. I thought, 'Wow. This is different. This is where I want to be.'

“My Fantasy A&R [artists and repertoire] man Rob Saslow took my husband and me windsurfing because he knew we wanted to learn how. We had a great time. Jill Weindorf, the head of radio promo, drove me all over the Midwest and helped me carry my keyboard into all the radio stations. She did not have to do that, and we had a ball, hard as we were working.

“When I play in Los Angeles, I am always so overwhelmed by how many people from the label come down," she wrote. “They all come to see the music and lend their support. It really blows my mind. That isn't usually how it works.

“Once, my husband and I took a bunch of beer by the label as some sort of humble way to say thank you. But we really wanted to hang and drink beer with them," she noted. “The Concord folks are really good people. They are making smart, interesting decisions and they are totally passionate about what they are doing. You can feel that.

“As an artist, I think you naturally look for a home -- a place where your ideas and vision can ring clear and gain strength and feel supported," Merritt concluded. “I feel lucky that Concord is mine."

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