Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Why i love country music - Josh Ritter

Josh Ritter isn't exactly country more if you had to give him a label Americana. This is a term used an awful lot by Uncut magazine which i used to get for a couple of years. I stopped in the end as i realised that their end of year top 50 albums bared little relation to what I liked. Without sounding jingoistic the it seemed as if to get a good review or be album of the month you had to be an American, it is as if the journalists were just too in love with the american guitar band dream (probably as a reaction against all things britpop). I discovered some great stuff through Uncut especially Sufjan Stevens and Midlake. But like Britpop before it the good stuff also came with a lot of dross. The likes of Ryan Adams would send Uncut in 5 star heaven whereas I was wondering why a review of the Hobotalk cd would be hidden in the margins. End of rant and like any rant it doesnt make that much sense or stand up to that much scrutiny

Anyway Josh Ritter a bit like Josh Rouse initially found more success in Europe rather than his homeland, in this case Ireland. Helped by the fact that he supported the Frames whose guitarist produced his third lp as well as headlining his own Irish tour.

Josh Ritter has released 5 lps , the first self titled is a USA only release in 1999. Available in the UK are

Golden Age of Radio 2002

Hello Starling 2003

The Animal Years 2006

The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter 2007

The last seeing a change in direction in that Josh Ritter changes writing style away from writing with a guitar and towards using an upright piano that at the time he didnt really know how to play. The sound of this lp is a bit rougher and experimental. As a result the songs sometimes can seem a bit drowned in instrumentation.

For me he is at his peak with Hello Starling and Animal Years that are more crafted in feel. I've posted a couple of tracks from both these lps

Kathleen - from Hello Starling

Snow is Gone - from Hello Starling

A Girl in the War - from The Animal Years (lyrics mentions the Dove from Above - sadly i don't think this is a reference to Vic Reeves)

Wolves - from the Animal Years

Josh Ritter's website is here where you can download a couple of tracks form each of his lps

If you like them you can buy them here

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