It's been a while since I last extolled the virtues of a musician who deserves more recognition than they receive. Today we focus on Josh Ritter, who has already shown up on this 'ere blog back during the Radio Ljubljana sessions. Apparently, his parents are both neuroscientists, which must lead to some fairly weird conversation around the dinner table. Fortunately, he dropped the family business fairly early on in order to rock out.
Well, folk out, I guess, but that doesn't have the same ring. The above song is from Golden Age of Radio, incidentally.
Ritter claims two of his biggest inspirations are Leonard Cohen and Mark Twain, which may go some way to explaining why his lyrics are so good. I love the song below on its own merits anyway, but the words themselves, a salute to the art of songwriting itself, reminds me of Cohen at his meditative, peaceful best (the song starts at 1:46 if you're in a hurry).
Also from the same album (Hello Starling) are two of my favourite songs, one a shy man's defiant love song:
the other pure exhaltation of the start of something new and wonderful (no whining here):
Whilst we're talking about lyrical skill, "Every heart is a package tangled up in knots someone else tied" and "I'm not sure if I'm singing for the love of it or for the love of you" are two of the best expressions of heart-based confusion (and the happiness that confusion generates) that you're likely to find. Further ruminations on the subject can be found here (from The Animal Years):
and here (from The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter):
If I haven't persuaded you yet, then nothing will, and I must conclude that you are dead inside.