Friday, April 04, 2008

The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

It's somewhat stupid to be reviewing this Josh Ritter album here. Mainly because I feel like a moron for not championing Ritter's music sooner. In addition, this album is somewhat of a departure for Ritter. I had read that after recording and touring with his previous effort Animal Years Ritter was looking for something new and different. He took some time away from it all and travel and listened to different music. But before jumping into the newest effort, you may be wondering where Ritter came from. He was born and raised in Moscow, Idaho and attended college at Oberlin in Ohio. While in the middle of his studies of neuroscience at Oberlin he began writing songs after listening to Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Leonard Cohen. Soon enough he changed his major to one he created himself that was basically American History through the eyes of folk music. His most important break came in the form of opening for Glen Hansard and his band The Frames (of Once fame and notoriety) in a tour of Ireland. To this day, Ritter has a devoted following in Ireland.

On Ritter's previous albums he creates great folk/singer-songwriter music. On his newest release he branches out, turns up the volume and really shows off his skills for arrangement. This is definitely not the Josh Ritter the audience is used to. From the first track you can tell this album is a treat. Ritter has taken a great big musical step forward. Ritter has traded in his acoustic guitar for electric and in doing so he sings with great analogies from all points of literature and personal experience. One of the best parts about this album is that volume is no object; soft or loud it works. Overall, the album sees a successful artist taking his game to another level which is always fun to listen to over and over.

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