Josh Ritter

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Sorry about the lack of content lately… it’s just been way too summery around here to get any blogging done. You understand.

A few weeks ago now we had the great fortune to catch Josh Ritter in Hollywood at The Music Box – and he was, of course, fantastic. Opening was the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who are a sort of American Jug music-preservation group, playing things like fiddles, banjos, kazoos, whiskey jugs and the old bones. They were pretty dang fun, playing primarily ditties from the 20’s and 30’s with the exception of their closing number – a cover of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style”, complete with beat-box and barn-burning vocals. Here’s the track and a video. Enjoy.

mp3: Carolina Chocolate Drops – Hit ‘Em Up Style
from the album Genuine Negro Jig (buy it here)

Video: Carolina Chocolate Drops – Hit ‘Em Up Style at WDVX’s Blue Plate Special

After that, Josh Ritter put on one of the absolute best rock and roll shows I have ever seen, no exaggeration. He’s always put on an energetic and heartfelt show, but somehow he’s gotten even more energetic and heartfelt, if that’s even possible. His songs continue to get better and better, and his band is getting tighter and tighter, and I just can’t imagine them doing anything better than they did that night – I’ve said it before and it’s still true: it’s obvious that Josh loves his band and his band loves him, and that translates to a great live presence.

Three highlights I’ll share: One, when the band picked up on “Kathleen” after Josh had started it out solo – they roared in after the interlude and positively sent chills down my spine. Two, during Josh’s solo set he had the house turn off all the lights and played “In The Dark” in pitch black, with the audience singing along on the “doo doo doo’s” – more chills down the spine. And three, at the end of the encore as Josh and his band sang “Wait for Love” in harmony with arms around each other, smiling and swaying back and forth, the whole crowd singing along. Of course, more chills. This is why I love music.

Pictures and setlist after the jump (below).

mp3: Josh Ritter – Lantern
from the album So Runs The World Away (buy it here)

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One thing’s for sure: Josh Ritter knows how to kick off a record. In 2006 he opened his fourth album, The Animal Years, with “Girl In The War” – the perfect introduction to the sepia-toned world of quiet desperation the characters of that album inhabited. A little over a year later the romping and ultra-literate “To The Dogs Or Whoever” set the pace for the beefier but equally affecting The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. Both “Girl” and “Dogs” stand strong by themselves (“Girl In The War” remains one of my all-time favorite songs), but they’re even stronger as the thesis for what’s about to follow them – two strong records, each with a distinct vision and aesthetic.

Well once again Josh has captured the entire spirit of his record in a single song, “Change of Time“. It opens So Runs The World Away with the lines, “I had a dream last night/I dreamt that I was swimming/And the stars up above/Directionless and drifting” – introducing us to the wistful and dreamlike air that permeates this album, right from the ambient electric guitar intro to the twilight melodies of the closing track “Long Shadows”. In between are Josh’s most fleshed out and fully realized songs ever, both lyrically and sonically, woven together to create a complex and beautiful record.

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This is just your friendly reminder that THIS SATURDAY, April 17th, is Record Store Day, so make sure you get out and patronize your local independent record store. I know here in Indy both LUNA and Indy CD & Vinyl have great lineups playing all day long, and there’s plenty of fantastic special releases slated to hit the shelves that day. Here’s just a few I’m excited about:

  • Josh Ritter – So Runs The World Away (vinyl + cd – a full month before the scheduled release – yes!)
  • Bon Iver/Peter Gabriel – “Come Talk To Me”/”Flume” (7″ vinyl single)
  • John Lennon – Singles Bag (7″ Singles Boxset)
  • Roky Erickson & Okkervil River – True Love Cast Out All Evil (pre-release on 12″ vinyl)

…and that’s just the beginning. To check out the complete list of special Record Store Day releases CLICK HERE.

And if you’re not sure where your nearest participating indie record store is, FIND IT HERE.

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ALSO: Josh Ritter recently did a Daytrotter session, which includes two new songs and a couple old favorites. Check out his version of an old gem below, then go get the whole thing HERE for free.

mp3: Josh Ritter – You’ve Got The Moon
from his Daytrotter Session (get it for free)

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My dear friend Alison just sent me this little link:

Josh Ritter: World Cafe Live

According to Alison, Josh sings six new songs from his forthcoming album. Why ‘according to Alison’ and not ‘according to Logan?’

Cause I’m only about three songs deep but got so excited that I had to post this immediately.

The few new songs I’ve heard from this recording are just amazing. But what else do we expect when it comes to Mr. Ritter?

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Holy happy Monday! I woke up this morning to an email with some fantastic news:

Josh Ritter’s new record now has a name, So Runs the World Away, AND a free mp3, “Change of Time”!!

Get it for only the price of an email HERE.

And if you’re not familiar with Josh Ritter by now, here’s some past tracks to catch you up:

mp3: Josh Ritter – Me & Jiggs
from the album Golden Age of Radio (Amazon/iTunes)

mp3: Josh Ritter – Snow Is Gone
from the album Hello Starling (Amazon/iTunes)

mp3: Josh Ritter – Good Man
from the album The Animal Years (Amazon/iTunes)

mp3: Josh Ritter – To The Dogs Or Whoever
from the album The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (Amazon/iTunes)

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