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Merritt's first music of her own since 2012 is out now, a track called "Dusty Old Man." Powered by guitars from Marc Ribot and pedal-steel wiz Eric Heywood over a bouncy shuffle rhythm from drummer Jay Bellerose and bassist Jennifer Condos, "Dusty Old Man" has more of a bluesy, loose-limbed feel than anything Merritt has ever done. "It also has (Iron & Wine's) Sam Beam singing 'love' really loudly, and there is nothing better than that," Merritt says with a laugh. "We cut it super-fast, live off the floor. I think it might have been take three. In writing the song, I'd been messing around with a lot of open tunings. The guitar really led on this one, open-tuned and way up the neck. One of my all-time favorite records is still Bonnie Raitt's first album, which is so blue and fun and sweet and soulful. The guitar riffs I was playing reminded me of that, which seemed like a good thing." Merritt will join Hiss Golden Messenger out on the road this fall as both a special guest and band member, reprising her vocal-foil role on Heart Like a Levee. And even though she'll be playing solo in her opening-act stints, without a rhythm section, "Dusty Old Man" will be in the setlist. The song finds Merritt describing her "Dusty Old Man" as being "mean as a snake" — and it's hard not to wonder who it is, and if that's true. "Oh, wouldn't you like to know?" Merritt teases, laughing again. "But like most songs, it's open-ended. And aren't all men sometimes like that, when they're stubborn? My experience is that everyone has both lightness and darkness. And by now, I've been around the block a few times and can sing about callouses and experiences with some bruises of my own."

Song Lyrics:

Dusty man, there goes my dusty old dusty old man

He loves my mouth, he loves my hips
Piece of my mind don't make no difference
He don't bow down and don't make plans
He's mean as a snake, he's my dusty man

He say
Love me enough to right my wrongs
Love me until the scars are gone

Young man think he seen know everything
My baby's broke in long and lean
More real living than that young boy could stand
You take a young boy, I keep my dusty old man

I say
Love me enough to right my wrongs
Love me until the scars are gone

Dusty man, here come my dusty old dusty old man

Calloused hand and tear stained heart
The world can't won't hand you what you want
Sometimes all you can do is say goddam
Give your love to your dusty old man

Love me enough to right my wrongs
Love me until the scars are gone

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