Josh Ritter, a Folk-Rock singer-songwriter and novelist with an expressive voice, a keen wit and an evocative way with words has been described as “harking back to Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and maybe a little Mark Knopfler” (The New York Times) and named one of the “100 Greatest Living Songwriters” by Paste magazine.
Born and raised in Moscow, Idaho, Ritter self-recorded and produced his first album Josh Ritter while at Oberlin College majoring in “American History Through Narrative Folk Music.” This independent major greatly influenced his music and lyrics, with Rolling Stone describing him as an artist “blending gentle country twang and potent Muscle Shoals-influenced production with the singer-songwriter’s contemplative lyrics.”
After college, Ritter worked a series of odd jobs while playing open mics in Boston and Providence, RI, during which time Irish musician and front man for The Frames, Glen Hansard, heard Ritter and asked him to open for the band on their tour through Ireland. Ritter’s third album, Hello Starling, produced by former Frames guitarist Dave Odlum, debuted at No. 2 in Ireland.
After returning to the U.S, Ritter headlined the Friday night singer-songwriter events at the Hotel Viking at the 2004 Newport Folk Festival and shared top billing with the French Kicks at the Sepomana music festival in Vermont. Also, he headlined with artists such as Joan Baez, who later released her own version of Ritter’s song “Wings.”
Novelist Stephen King praised Ritter’s fourth album, The Animal Years, in his column for Entertainment Weekly, saying the album was “mysterious, melancholy, melodic…and those are just the M’s.”
Now, Ritter has a discography with over nine studio albums and multiple releases and remasterings of previous albums. Ritter’s music has appeared in various television shows and movies including his song “Change of Time” in the trailer for the Natalie Portman film The Other Woman and “Homecoming” in the season 2 finale of Showtime’s Billions. He also has two published novels: Bright’s Passage and The Great Glorious Goddamned of It All.
Excited to return to performing after a year of writing, Josh would like to leave his audience with this note:
I don’t know about you, but for me this past year has had more than its fair share of long nights of the soul. Whether in song or prose or one of those weird creatures that lives between, I’ve returned to stories over and over again for sustenance and counsel and forgetting. I’ve also found myself dreaming of touring again, being on stage, performing my songs – my stories – like I did for so long before the world turned on its head. I’ve lived in those memories when I couldn’t be on stage in any other way.
Now I get the chance to perform again. I’m so excited I almost can’t contain it. I want my first set of shows in a year and a half to be in places that will allow me to sing some of the stranger, quieter, more narrative songs that I may not always get to at a rock show. I want the venues to be special and beautiful, I want laughter and music and stories that are true even if they’re unreal. Finally, I want to perform again, stomp the dust off, see what new appendages and teeth and claws have grown from this time in the wilderness, see what joy can come from sorrow and what tears can come from joy.
I’m so excited to see you again.
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