home listen reviews artists a-z
Josh Ritter

GOLDEN AGE OF RADIO (Signature Sounds) • Josh Ritter

Sometimes it works better when you don’t really own any records till you’re a senior in high school. Maybe you grew up in Moscow, Idaho, or something, and one of the only records your parents have is Nashville Skyline. Yeah, that’s it.

It worked for Josh Ritter, tell you that. The sandy haired creature of the sticks has hit the ground running in the States and the UK, and is being likened to Nick Drake, Townes and Prine. But on loping groovers like the radio friendly "Me and Jiggs," he sounds a step ahead of more self conscious alt-country acts haunted by heroes. On "Anne" the chord progression even leans toward rock alternative, but without distortion, the guitar and the melody is fresh, the lyrics the picture of his determined melancholy. He actually calls it scared determination.

It’s endearing to hear a budding hot songwriter when there’s still a trace of humility in their voice, and before they’re beaten down by the business. He’s taking off so fast (in folk terms of course -- it’s all relative) that he may just bypass the rejection that most singer songwriters know too well. Josh Ritter left his home after Oberlin College for Boston (he’d commute from Providence, actually, for a while, a less daunting locale), the belly of the new folk beast, in his early 20s. A few years later, he was already wowing crowds in Ireland.

I first heard about him in a half page ad in No Depression magazine, so the maverick Signature Sounds record company in MA has got him on a fast track, opening up nationally for big acts. And he’s up to the task, too.

This fella’s gonna crack some heads. In a good way, I mean. He’s got a quiet kind of star power. He’s got the image and the musical goods to court the young acoustic crowd and beyond. Sure, it’s innocent, it’s naive. But he’s strong, original, and it’s no wonder this cat is getting over hard. Check him out on our Listen page, we like him.   • FG

listen to clips      view cover      joshritter.com

artists a-z      puremusic home