Josh Ritter was one of those names that I had heard a lot, yet never heard his music. Until The Animal Years was released, I got a copy to review and almost instantly realised I had fround a friend. I'm a big fan now, and this is a great mini LP.
JOSH RITTER - GIRL IN THE WAR
Release: 27 November
PR: Momentum PR
Josh Ritter must be making up for lost time. The 30-year old singer/songwriter has finally achieved stateside critical acclaim with his stunning recent LP 'The Animal Years'. Now, hot on its heels he's releasing a seven track mini-lp featuring acoustic tracks, demos and new songs. Co-producer Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Modest Mouse) deserves credit for Josh's success, his thoughtful direction showcases the best side of Ritter. The tracks on this LP largely feature acoustic guitar coupled with Josh's clear, warm vocals shining through.
The highlight is the striking title track with its political poise ("the only thing I know to do is turn up the music and pray that she makes it through"). The early versions and acoustic demos of 'Monster Ballads' and 'In the Dark' strip the songs to their bare bones to reveal some beautiful song-writing. Ritter is one of the few artists to write poetry with his lyrics. Not a word is misplaced, the narrative as compelling as it is intriguing.
The new songs, 'Peter Killed the Dragon', 'Harbortown' and 'Blame it on the Tetons' were from the 'Animal Years' sessions but failed to make the final cut. They are similar in style to the album tracks and all fit perfectly on this LP with strong melodies and thoughtful lyrics. For fans of Ritter this record is a gem, for anyone else, it's time you made his acquaintance.
Download: Girl in the War, 'Monster Ballads (early version)'
For fans of: Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Glen Hansard
Download 'Girl In The War' legally for free