Saturday, 13 October 2012

Desert Island Discs 113 - Hello Starling by Josh Ritter

113 -  Hello Starling by Josh Ritter 2003
Looking like a romantic poet on the cover Josh Ritter's second lp has a folky rock sound and a worn in vocal that makes the whole thing feel timeless, in that it could have been released in anytime during the last 30 years.
Starting with a plucked guitar and a deceptively sing along long song that invokes the spirit of Nick Drake (Bright Smile), the lp has guitar , Hammond organ and percussion welded together in a crisp sharp sound.
There is an easy comparison to Dylan especially in the panoramic lyrics of the following
What pulls the lp above the usual Americana is a focus on tunes (it isn't a surprise that Ritter found success in Europe before his homeland) as well as a real sense of joy in a number of the songs which also gives the lp a real ebb and flow
This is one of those lps where I'm not that much of a fan of any of its obvious influences and whereas a someone steeped in some of the sounds' roots would probably call it a pale imitation I just think it a great set of songs with a backing that allows them to breathe
You can buy Hello Starling here


  1. Josh Ritter just missed my 125. I've got so many singer/songwriter types on my list... Glad you have catholic enough tastes to appreciate this. Kathleen is my fave off the album. Animal Years has some fine tunes too.

    #113 - Ian McNabb - Truth and Beauty (1993)

  2. Hi Tim

    what you've written could apply to Ian McN - I've got all his lps and really like hime but the number of singer songwriters meant he missed out. Great Dreams of Heaven should have been massive

    If you've not read it it try and get a copy of his autobiography Mersey beast

  3. OK, this is easy; so I'm making my 113 Animal Years by Josh Ritter.
    Much as love 'Hello Starling' it doesn't have 'Girl in the War' (played over and over for my favourite cymbal splash of all time after "her eyes were like champagne") or 'Wolves' or 'Monster Ballads' and that's just the first three songs. Di and I drove around Corsica a few years ago with only this and Midlake's 'Trials of Van Occupanther'. We were singing 'Girl in the War' and 'Roscoe' in our sleep...

  4. Animal Years is great as well - Starling just pips it for me but you have got me listening out for the cymbal splash !

  5. Josh Ritter and Ian McNabb would be on my reserve list ,probably with 'Animal Years' and 'Merseybeasts'.
    My #113 is an artist you've already mentioned ,The Music Lovers but I've gone for their third release 'Masculine. Feminine'

  6. Hi phil

    it was a bit of a toss up between these 2


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