Thursday, May 13, 2010

Josh Ritter

I mentioned a while back that I really like Josh Ritter. His new album came out last week, and I thought I'd take the opportunity to mention again how awesome he is.

Ritter's latest album, So Runs The World Away, was released internationally on May 4, 2010. It's available at any Starbucks location (apparently they sell some pretty solid CDs), and it's not half bad. Honestly I've only listened to it a few times so I haven't made up my mind about it yet. Ritter's albums usually take a few listens to really catch on, and so far I can only say I like this one. It seems to be getting generally positive reviews from credible sources so I'm sure I'll come around. Standout tracks include Change of Time, The Curse, and the cheesy but catchy Lantern.

I can, however, give a ringing endorsement of a few of his earlier records, Golden Age of Radio, The Animal Years, and The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. On each of these albums Ritter's expert songwriting shines through on every song, with lyrics that are both instantly likable and profound upon deeper reflection. He particularly excels with ballads like The Last Temptation of Adam, the lyrics of which were the subject of an earlier post. Ritter covers a broad range of styles in his songs, ranging from the melodramatic to the densely literary to the barroom nostalgic. His sound is like a more pop, less surreal version of Bob Dyaln, both in terms of his vocals and country-folk roots. Golden Age in particular features a stripped down acoustic sound that's sure to please fans of singer-songwriters. On Animal Years and Historical Conquests Ritter expands upon this foundation with a full band in tow, giving him the room to really stretch out with his songs.

If you're a fan of good music then you owe it to yourself to at least check Ritter out. Some of my favourite tracks include Harrisburg, Song For The Fireflies, To The Dogs or Whoever, Wolves, and Lillian, Egypt. Below I'm embedding the video for Me & Jiggs, which is song that introduced me to Ritter. It clearly shows his singer-songwriter talent and pop sensibility, and is just a fantastic track. Give it a listen, and give him a shot.

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