Friday, February 17, 2006

Josh Ritter - The Animal Years

Here's a review of the forthcoming new Josh Ritter album. I would reccomend it.


Josh Ritter's success to date is largely due to nurturing from the Frames. While working an awful job in Boston and performing at open mic nights, the Irish rock group stopped in for a beer, heard one song and asked him to open for their tour. Word spread and Ritter is a much bigger name in Ireland than his native America.

Frames front-man Glen Hansard sees something of himself in Josh Ritter. Both are comfortable with voice and acoustic guitar, both see the importance of good lyrics and aren't afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve.

On his V2 label debut, Josh has teamed up with Iron and Wine producer Brian Deck. Deck didn't try to make a hit single. The result is much more interesting. Ritter speaks his mind and inspired by Mark Twain, St. Paul and Dante confronts the war in Iraq and his escapist impulses at the state of the American union.

Production is unobtrusive and the instrumentation is conventional. There are hints of subtle electronic elements, but the song writing is exceptional. 'Girl in the War' is as stirring and Springsteen like as 'Born in the USA'. 'Thin Blue Flame' with its apocalyptic, gospel-like testimony is captivating.

With The Animal Years Ritter has opted out of the autobiographical, and instead stretched himself to write a philosophical and political statement. The result is something more sincere, more timely and relevant. Eleven great songs sung by a little-known talent.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just heard Josh Ritter in Seattle. (Have heard him live before, once). He sung maybe half of the songs off the new album. He had a cold and maybe a little too much cough medicine (he said this--you really couldn't tell)but it was a great concert.

Josh was signing autographs and hugging fans after the show. When he talks to fans it's all abou them...

Great concert, great songs, great guy. Smile a mile wide...

Main things I like about Ritter:

1)interesting things to say
2)interesting ways to say them
3)never forgets he's a performer--makes sure you have a good time