Josh Ritter - So Runs The World Away
Craig Finn gets a lot of acclaim for his blue collar songwriting. I believe that Josh Ritter would give him a heck of a run for his money any day of the week. It's Ritter's songwriting that is once again front-and-centre on his forthcoming album So Runs The World Away (out May 4th).
Ritter's songs are bursting with vivid imagery and strong storytelling. With "Lantern" he proves he can do the Springsteen working man thing. On "Rattling Locks" he tries his hand at absurdist Tom Waits style. He's most successful though when he is writing in the folk genre. The standout this time is "Folk Bloodbath" on which he retells the tale of the great American myth of Stagger Lee.
While Ritter proves adept at jangly folk ("Long Shadows"), breezy pop ("Southern Pacifica") and even waltzes ("The Curse"), the arrangements are best when he concentrates on simple vocal folk. Tracks like "Change of Time" or the Simon & Garfunkel-esque troubadour folk of "Lock" are among the most melodic yet simple in Ritter's catalogue.
It's hard to find any fault with So Runs The World Away. Vocally, lyrically, and musically Ritter is at the top of his game. It's remarkable that this talent is not better exposed.
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