Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Worlds of Josh Ritter

I intermittently promise to blog about music more often here, but only rarely have done it. (Good intentions, meet time constraints.) However, I now have three or four separate things to say about Josh Ritter -- a fine singer/songwriter in the Dylanesque/Americana/roots-rock tradition, six albums into an impressive career -- so I might as well shove them all together and fulfill my promise for today at least.

First, there was a nice profile of Ritter in the New York Times the other day, tied to the release of his new record So Runs the World Away.

Second, I need to boast that I'm going to see him live at Town Hall in NYC -- a great venue; we saw Elvis Costello on the Juliet Letters tour there longer ago than I want to remember -- on the 20th, and that he's on tour right now across the US, if anyone suddenly decides they love his music and want to do the same. (This will be either the second or third concert I'll see this month, which is vastly higher than any month in the past decade -- I dragged the family out to a street festival in Hoboken last weekend to see Fountains of Wayne, but I'm not sure if the Stones cover band at the afterparty during Sales Conference counts.)

Third, Ritter used to have a lot of free MP3s on his site -- generally two songs per record, which was very generous -- for those of us who like to sample music that way. (It worked for me; I was linked to his great Dylanesque unstoppable-flow-of-words song "To the Dogs or Whoever" from Fingertips about two years ago and went on to buy nearly all of his records.) Now, there's an embedded player for each record that will let you listen to the whole thing on the site -- I have to admit that I prefer the "grab a free MP3" model, since I do most of my listening away from the computer, but I try not to be so churlish as to complain about how someone is giving stuff to me for free.

Last, here's the best-of CD I assembled for The Wife a few months ago -- thus it doesn't include anything from the new record, and doesn't necessarily reflect the songs I like best right this second -- as yet another excuse for me to play with this Amazon widget:

And then the last song on the CD, of course, is the one I can't get in the widget -- it's the original demo version of "Golden Age of Radio," available on the 2-CD reissue of that record under the title "A Country Song." It kicks several million varieties of ass, all by itself. It doesn't seem to be accessible anywhere online, so you'll have to take my word for it -- unless you just buy the album, which I would recommend.


Doug said...

Hey! You can still take all those free mp3's on Josh's (new) site. :-)

Thanks for spreading the word - and love - about Josh...

Andrew Wheeler said...

Doug: Thanks! I clearly hadn't looked hard enough on the new site for the MP3s page!

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