The above photo is of one of my absolute favourite artists: Josh Ritter. For anyone who hasn’t heard of him, here‘s his website!
I first came across the song stylings of Josh when an ex boyfriend of mine gave me a mix CD with one of his songs on it. I fell completely in love with his soft vocals, enchanting guitar and magical lyrics. I had never been a fan of the “folk sound” – but with Josh it was different; I was hooked.
In fact, his album “Hello Starling” was played on repeat for the duration of my Leaving Cert.
I’ve seen Josh in concert four times now. He never fails to impress me onstage – not just musically – but as a person. He’s always so happy to be onstage and reacts so modestly to the excited crowd and how they sing all the words along with him. I’ve also met Josh a couple of times. He’s just one of those artists who takes the time to speak to every fan he can.
Once, I was in work and he was signing copies of his latest album in HMV. My boss told me I could take a quick break to run up to get my copy signed. Soon enough, a little break turned into an hour and a half and I knew I was in complete doody! I told Josh all about this and he took down a poster off the wall of the shop and signed it “To the lovely and patient staff of Karen Millen, I love you and Susan loves you too. Please be good to her. Love, Josh Ritter and Susan.” It didn’t get me out of trouble, but it didnt hurt either!
Last Friday night I saw Josh play a monumental, career making, sold out gig in Dublin’s Vicar Street. He was joined onstage by a full 24 piece orchestra and conductor – in addition to his band. The music sounded the way it was supposed to sound – and was given completely fresh life. Each song was better than the next – but my favourites were “The Temptaion of Adam” and “Rumours” where Josh crooned, “my orchestra is gigantic, this thing could sink the Titanic” – very true, Mr. Ritter.
I sang, I danced and I felt every note and lyric along the way. He just has that effect.
Here are some of my favourite lyrics:
We walked up in the fields alone
And the silence fell just like a stone
That got lost in the wild blue and the gravel grey
- Come and Find Me
And at last we saw some people huddled up against
The rain that was descending like railroad spikes and hammers
They were headed for the border—walking and then running
Then they were gone into the fog but Anne said underneath their jackets she saw wings
Then one night you found me in my army issue cot
And you told me of your flash of inspiration
You said fusion was the broken heart that’s lonely’s only thought
And all night long you drove me wild with your equations
- The Temptation of Adam
You put a finger to my lips and then you kissed me once and once again
The crickets all leapt up and met the moon with a standing ovation
- Right Moves
The title quote is from a song entitled, “Good Man”.
Josh Ritter plays the Marquee in Cork – again with a full orchestra on July 4th, 2008. His most recent album “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter” is absolutely gorgeous – but for a real introduction to Josh’s music, I’d reccommend “Hello Starling”. It had me at “hello”.