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Josh Ritter

An American singer/songwriter with a strong voice, a keen wit, and an evocative way with words, Josh Ritter has built a loyal following as one of the leading lights on the contemporary folk scene. Born in Idaho, Ritter bought his first guitar after hearing the Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash classic "The Girl from the North Country." While attending college in Oberlin, Ohio, Ritter got his first taste of the music of Leonard Cohen and Gillian Welch; he instantly fell in love with their songs and dropped his neuroscience major in favor of the pursuit of music. As home to classic folk venues like Club Passim, Boston was the place Ritter chose to follow his dream. He recorded and released his self-titled debut in 1999, but it was 2002's The Golden Age of Radio that got him noticed by both critics and folk fans. Selling copies of the disc on his own funded Ritter's touring, while successful tours in turn funded more albums, and so on. Signature Sounds Recordings soon picked up the rights to The Golden Age of Radio; their reissue gave it exposure on a national level, and the four- and five-star reviews started rolling in. The HBO series Six Feet Under grabbed a track from the album for their end credits, while Ritter received an offer to open for the Frames on a tour of Ireland. Soon his single "Me & Jiggs" was in the Irish Top 40, a headlining tour of the country was sold out, and a tribute band named Cork was playing nothing but Ritter material in numerous Irish pubs. Back home, Ritter's following was growing with sold-out shows in New York City and Boston, while an invitation to the Sundance Film Festival helped begin 2003 on a high note.

In February 2003, Ritter spent 14 days in rural France at Black Box Studios (where much of the gear originally equipped Curtis Mayfield's studio in Chicago). The result, Hello Starling, was released in September of the same year. The success of The Golden Age of Radio and Hello Starling attracted the attention of the major labels, and Ritter signed with V2 in time for the release of 2006's The Animal Years. Ritter's tenure with V2 was brief, and after releasing a CD/DVD concert album, In the Dark: Live at Vicar Street, through an Irish label in April 2007, he hooked up with the BMG-distributed Victor Records, which issued the rock-oriented The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter in August 2007. The hard-touring Ritter dropped two more live discs in 2008, Live at the 9:30 Club and Live at the Record Exchange, and he opted to eliminate his problems with record labels by forming one of his own, Pytheas Recordings. Pytheas issued the album So Runs the World Away in 2010, and when Ritter published his first novel, Bright's Passage, through the Dial Press in 2012, Pytheas issued a special box set of Ritter reading his own novel, accompanied by an EP of songs inspired by the book. Ritter returned to music with 2013's The Beast in Its Tracks, an album inspired by his divorce, and he traveled to New Orleans to work with producer and engineer Trina Shoemaker for his 2015 release Sermon on the Rocks. ~ David Jeffries & Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Beast In Its Tracks

1. Third Arm

2. Evil Eye

3. A Certain Light

4. Hopeful

5. Nightmares

6. New Lover

7. Heart's Ease

8. In Your Arms Again

9. The Appleblossom Rag

10. Bonfire

11. In Your Arms Awhile

12. Joy To You Baby

13. Lights

x

Track List: Bringing In The Darlings

1. Why

2. Love Is Making Its Way Back Home

3. Darlin'

4. Make Me Down

5. See Me Through

6. Can't Go To Sleep (Without You)

x

Track List: So Runs The World Away

1. Curtains

2. Change Of Time

3. The Curse

4. Southern Pacifica

5. Rattling Locks

6. Folk Bloodbath

7. Lark

8. Lantern

9. The Remnant

10. See How Man Was Made

11. Another New World

12. Orbital

13. Long Shadows

x

Track List: The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter

1. To The Dogs Or Whoever

2. Mind's Eye

3. Right Moves

4. The Temptation Of Adam

5. Open Doors

6. Rumors

7. Edge Of The World

8. Wait For Love

9. Real Long Distance

10. Next To The Last Romantic

11. Moons

12. Still Beating

13. Empty Hearts

14. Wait For Love (You Know You Will)

x

Track List: The Animal Years

1. Girl In The War

2. Wolves

3. Monster Ballads

4. Lillian, Egypt

5. Idaho

6. In The Dark

7. One More Mouth

8. Good Man

9. Best For The Best

10. Thin Blue Flame

11. Here At The Right Time

x

Track List: 4 Songs (Live)

1. Kathleen (Live)

2. Golden Age Of Radio (Live)

3. You Don't Make It Easy Babe (Live)

4. Snow Is Gone (Hello Starling) (Live)

x

Track List: Hello Starling

1. Bright Smile

2. Kathleen

3. You Don't Make It Easy Babe (Live)

4. Man Burning

5. Rainslicker

6. Wings

7. California

8. Snow Is Gone

9. Bone Of Song

10. Baby That's Not All

11. The Bad Actress

x

Track List: Golden Age Of Radio

Disc 1

1. Come And Find Me

2. Me & Jiggs

3. You've Got The Moon

4. Lawrence, KS

5. Anne

6. Roll On

7. Leaving

8. Other Side

9. Harrisburg

10. Drive Away

11. Golden Age Of Radio

12. Song For The Fireflies

Disc 2
x

Track List: Acoustic Live, Vol. 1

1. Best For The Best (Live)

2. Southern Pacifica (Live)

3. A Certain Light (Live)

4. Joy To You Baby (Live)

5. I'm Not Afraid (Live)

6. Can't Go To Sleep (Without You) (Live)

7. Wings (Live)

8. Hopeful (Live)

9. Save Me A Place (Live)

10. Galahad (Live)

x

Track List: Getting Ready To Get Down (Single)

1. Getting Ready To Get Down

x

Track List: Joy To You Baby (Single)

1. Joy To You Baby

x

Track List: Sermon On The Rocks

1. Birds Of The Meadow

2. Young Moses

3. Henrietta, Indiana

4. Getting Ready To Get Down

5. Seeing Me ‘Round

6. Where The Night Goes

7. Cumberland

8. Homecoming

9. The Stone

10. A Big Enough Sky

11. Lighthouse Fire

12. My Man On A Horse (Is Here)

x

Track List: The Temptation Of Adam (Live) (30 Days, 30 Songs) (Single)

Comments

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Awesome.
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This song sung by Ritter reminds me of a Nick Drake song~~~
May be the guitar played
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Such a talent. So well put together... AND THE LYRICS!!! What a fantastic writer!!!! Well done sir, well done!
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Puttin' me to sleep here....
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Hey cousin! It's me Krista! Great song! Love ya!
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He was born in the same building I was nice
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I think he kinda looks like Dexter from the tv series
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davidcrisco
The man looks like Tom Waits but he sounds so smooth .
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Nice
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Great artist, and a great guy, as well.
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kpccox
Josh Ritter's live performances with his band are among the best you will see. Excellent.
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powderski116 4
Best live artist ever!
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Great artist.
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Genius, pure genius, brilliant song
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Both of his live CD/DVD sets are phenomenal
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Saw Josh two nights ago at the Somerville theater (Mass). Great, high energy show. Everything about the performance was exceptional, including getting the audience to howl like wolves. Told some really funny, sort of stream-of-co n s c i o u s n e s s stories
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A lotta Paul Simon influence on Lark, great song. He's great live as well.
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Great to watch him perform these songs live on the NPR concert: http://www.y o u t u b e . c o m / w a t c h ? v = J F i n b Z g J c Q g
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Great artist! He and his band do excellent live shows!
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akpochyla
Everything Josh Ritter creates is Fantastic! I'm in love!
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stuart.mosko w i t z
Good song!
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@alex89904 - I was at the Buffalo concert in April, too. It was a fantastic show. Despite the fact that the crowd was half-asleep (what the hell, Buffalo??!!) , Josh and the Royal City Band left it all on the stage. I am eagerly looking forward to my next Josh Ritter show. I think Josh is in a very small class of musicians from his generation that my grandchildre n will be listening to decades from now.
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alex89904
Just saw him April 13th in buffalo. The greatest concert I have and ever will see unless it's topped by him. Got to meet him after the show to and I have to say, what a great guy, so down to earth and happy. I am most definitely a lifelong Ritter fan.
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tdjab
Listened to him on Letterman last night. I'm now a fan.
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Holy Sh#t. great song.
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alex89904
Great songs. Great lyrics. What else can you ask for? Although I do have one question. Josh can you play a show in Buffalo NY please? And a quick shoutout for Alex farleo couldn't hurt either haha
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Nice
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I so love this song
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Well, Leonard Cohen and Gillian Welch sure are good people to be influenced by! Harrisburg is a nice train song...
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I hear a little Gorden Lightfoot in there
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Really like the song Best For The Best. It's so peaceful and puts me in a happy place. :)
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rbriggs93
Bone of Song........ . . . . . . . . . . . . . I n c r e d i b l e .
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I was born in the same town as Josh(: He's a good family friend, and I've had the amazing chance to not only see him in concert, but also performed with him a couple years ago! And the great thing about it all...is I'm only 17 haha(: Love you Josh!
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crusso5
By far the most high energy folk singer of our time!!!
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ryan adams rules. who cares who he bangs?
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First saw him at Lyons Folks Festival. Great high energy act.
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pattonpw
don't want to damn him with the wrong kind of praise, but he seems genuinely intelligent (as opposed to faux Ryan Adams type intelligent) . I hope he has a long career and doesn't waste himself on too many starlets

ivan
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troy.gelinas
If you like this guy, you will probably love Steve Forbert. I don't know why Pandoria isn't listing Steve under Similar Artists. I actually looked up Josh Ritter because of a comment for Steve Forbert saying that the two artists are very similar, I would agree.
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Wonderful lyrics, music, & person. (The latter based on radio interviews as well as comments.) Hopefully, will live to see him live!!! (If not, there's always "Wings".)
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Such a great musician and person. Live shows are amazing. Love him!
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trisha - which song? Temptation of Adam?
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wow, just reading the lyrics to this song . . . wow.
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like the writing-bet he has a bad hair day everyday-don ' t mean that in a bad way...
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so trippy. I LIVE in the town he's from--for 15 years, not like I just moved here! And I just heard of him a couple months ago. ;P
Just getting into his music..so far so good! He was just in town last weekend for a book signing of his first novel. They blocked off main-street for several hours! LOL. Go Josh.
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,,Looks like he could be Dexter's nephew,,
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thanks to pandora, i discovered josh a few years ago, and i've been a huge fan since. the narratives of his songs really grab me but i'm a sucker for a man with a guitar too
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saw him at the Wiltern in February, was awesome. Got to meet him backstage too. Super great happy guy.
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We were at the Uptown concert last month too. Can't believe it took me so long to "discover" him - what a fine artist. I agree that So Runs the World Away is a great album, but I think The Animal Years is even stronger. Check him out live if you can - I've rarely seen a perform who revels in performing the way Josh Ritter does. Just great!
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I saw him at the Uptown in Napa, CA last month -- he is a tremendous performer and really connected with the audience. He latest album So Runs the World Away deserves multiple listens -- it is an album that takes a little time to appreciate its depth, both lyrically and musically.
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I saw him last night at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. It was really grand! His smile and sense of self awareness made for a great show. He is a beautiful person with a lot of musical and lyrical talents to offer. He is real, his voice, his band, and his heart. Thanks Josh.
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