Monday, March 31, 2008

Music on Monday: Josh Ritter

It is not often that I stumble upon an artist that captures my attention wholly. Not since I bought 1000 Kisses by Patty Griffin have I enjoyed such a discovery.

Josh Ritter looks like Tom Waits, plays with words like Dylan, writes like Leonard Cohen and tells a story like Springsteen. And his distinctive vocals are all his own. Again I feel like a poor man might if he found a pirate's treasure.

His songs are full of memorable lines worthy of dozens of thoughts...

I got a girl in the war and Paul, her eyes like champagne
They sparkle, bubble over and in the morning all you got is rain.

And that is just one line among so many that reek of thoughtfulness and beg the listener to stop and think with the heart.

One of the things that always worries me when I find a new artist is wondering if he or she is a jerk. Are they a prima donna who will complain about the trials of stardom and disdain the popularity of their music? Well after reading interview after interview and listening to two on npr I was able to relax. He is just a nice guy who considers himself lucky to be doing what he is doing. He is famous for his constant enthusiastic "thank yous" throughout his live shows. And if you watch him in concert you can tell he is thoroughly enjoying playing his music.

Also it is impossible to not like a guy who gives away all the songs that his fans seem to love the most! He also is glad that people are bootlegging his shows. His own website links to downloadable shows in audio and video. It is not just is free...and legal. I now have three bootlegs and so far they all have great sound...did I mention how funny he is also?

Below are YouTube videos to introduce you to Josh Ritter...


"Girl in the War" on Letterman

Live Concert Stream of Bootlegged Show in 2007

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