It’s no secret how much we love Josh Ritter around here – in fact, I can’t think of any other artist we plug more often or more emphatically than him. His record, So Runs The World Away, made the No. 2 spot in our Favorite Albums of 2010, and if we’d been writing this blog back in 2007, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter would have topped that year’s list as well. On top of all that, his 2006 masterpiece The Animal Years continues to be one of my all-time favorite records (now on vinyl!).
One of my favorite things about Ritter’s music is the remarkable stories he tells through his songs – whether they be about cursed mummies, romantic cowboys, or repressed missile-silo operators – so it only seems natural that the gifted songwriter would try his hand at a different form of storytelling. Josh Ritter will be releasing his first novel, Bright’s Passage, on June 28th via Random House/Dial Press. I don’t know much about the book yet, except that the story originally grew out of a song (naturally), and that it follows a World War I veteran, Henry Bright, and his infant son, as they trek through the wooded hills of West Virginia. Below is a brief note from Josh about the book, and a link to download the first chapter for free!
Here’s the first chapter to my first novel,Â Bright’s Passage.Â Â Wow!Â Â It makes me very proud to write that!Â Â Right now I’m sitting on the floor in Penn Station in New York, waiting for a train to Philadelphia where I’m to play a solo show.Â Â There are so many places a story can be told.Â Â Over the past year and a half, in airport bars and laundromats, tour busses and kitchens I’ve been telling myself the story of Henry Bright and his world.Â Â A story that started as a song is now a world inhabited by characters that are still surprising to me.Â Â I’m so happy to begin to present that world to others.Â Â Great thanks goes, as ever, to my family and my music family, my new friends at the Dial Press, and all of those whose generosity of will made this book possible.
Finally, thank all of you for your continued belief in my writing, whatever form it may take.Â Â I never forget who it is that makes all of this possible in the end.
As ever, rock on!
And here are some examples of Josh’s fantastic storytelling at work: