Revisiting the Motherland

Jason Boyd sees America with Natalie Merchant

Blessed with one of the most distinctive voices in pop music, but not a natural love for the spotlight, Natalie Merchant was initially famous, or notorious, for singing with her back to the audience during concerts. Still a teenager when she joined the band 10,000 Maniacs as its lead singer in 1981, she spent the following 12 years with them, released six albums, and became known for her literary songwriting style. By 1993, Merchant w

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