Josh Ritter’s music is in my bone marrow. Some artist’s songs feel more like heartbeats. So elaborately interwoven into your own life experiences that there aren’t proper words to describe the relationship.
I’ve followed along with Josh’s words and sounds for 13 years now and never have I been more proud of him then when I first heard the storm-laced sounds of Gathering. Josh Ritter is an artist who refuses to plateau. Each new album finds him reaching higher and making better art.
So, Gathering is a one of America’s greatest living songwriters at the peak of his game. Woah! That sounds serious and I mean every darn word of it. He’s the real deal.
Josh is an old soul. He doesn’t write songs he spins yarns. He rolls like a tumbleweed through forgotten times and spaces. He puts on a new hat every song, sometimes he’s the villain sometimes the hero. He is the best-spitfire-rapid-delivery-songwriter out there and he turns words and phrases that no one else would ever think to put into song. (Find me another songwriter sneaking in stuff like: “I took off south like the beat of a bat wing,” “I’m the favorite of babies and society mavens,” “nasturtiums,” and “wisdom Solomonic”).
Gah! I could go on and on about what makes Josh Ritter a unique gem of a songwriter but I’ll leave it be and just add that Gathering also makes a really fantastic new year companion:
When you grapple with keeping resolutions, songs like “When Will I Be Changed” and “Train Go By” will be a comfort.
When you think about leaving the past in the past, songs like “Friendamine” and “Cry Softly” will help you let go.
When you laugh at all the absurd and interesting people that cross your path each day, songs like “Showboat” and “Oh Lord, Pt. 3” will curl your lip upward.
When you forget how much love is all around us, songs like “Feels Like Lightning” and “Strangers” will fill your heart.
When you think about old endings and new beginnings the chorus from “Thunderbolt’s Goodnight” could not be more appropriate:
“All my life before I met you when I was trying hard in love.
I thought the sun was going down, but the sun was comin’ up.”
Faves: “Friendamine,” “Train Go By,” “Cry Softly” and “Oh Lord, Pt 3.”
Beck – Colors (2017)
“I’m so free now – I’m so free now and the way that I walk is up to me now
And if I breathe now I could scream now –
You can hear me from Topeka to Belize now” – “I’m So Free”