Owensboro native Whitney Merritt loves her hometown. But her appreciation for it has just become apparent in recent years.
After moving to Nashville in 2016 to pursue a career in music she recently moved back to ‘Boro. Now she’s preparing to release her second album on Sept. 1.
The album, titled “Like The Wind,” describes Merritt’s journey through her early 20s and the lessons she learned during that time.
“I left home and was back before I knew it,” she said. “People I thought I’d never live without were here one day and gone the next. Problems that I thought I’d never get over somehow vanished in a blink of an eye. I learned that life comes at you fast. Constantly moving and changing.”
For Merritt, the album became a project she poured her heart into during a difficult time in her life.
While living in Nashville she discovered she had a debilitating disease called Rheumatoid arthritis — a long-term autoimmune disorder that primarily affects the joints.
“I was bound and determined to not let my diagnosis change the plans I’ve had my whole life,” she said. “I was working my body to death with two jobs and barely making ends meet. I finally decided to surrender and give it to God. I may not have Nashville anymore, but I will always have my voice and my words.”
So she packed her bags and moved home to Owensboro. The move, Merritt said, became the best decision of her life.
“Moving home I began to remember the magic in a hometown,” she said. “I began to remember who I was and the girl who dreamed of the big-city life in the first place. Nashville can make you feel like a hamster on a wheel.”
Merritt said her musical influences are Loretta Lynn, Bobby Osborne, Miranda Lambert and John Anderson.
Merritt said she dedicated this album to her hometown and to all the people who helped shape her along the way.
Her teachers at Owensboro Public Schools, including choir teacher Jennifer Wiggins, Chad Benefield with WBKR — who let her intern during her senior year of high school — and her current employer German American Bank.
“Like the Wind” can be downloaded on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and Google. For a physical copy, send a request to email@example.com or message the Whitney Merritt Music Facebook page.