Even though she now lives in New York, singer-songwriter Tift Merritt says she'll always consider herself a North Carolina musician. "The only thing that's more formative in my life than North Carolina is my family," she tells Xpress. And, while Merritt's most recent album is called Traveling Alone, it's a theme, not a touring reality. "We're having such a great time and I feel really proud of how we're playing right now. I have a great group of people around me," she says. Read a full interview with Merritt at mountainx.com. See her live at Grey Eagle on Thursday, Feb. 21. 8:30 p.m. David Wax Museum opens. $15. http://www.thegreyeagle.com.