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  • Hello Starling
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Hello Starling


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Audio CD, September 9, 2003
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Biography

Josh Ritter is from Moscow, Idaho. The son of two neuroscientists, he was on his way to follow in their footsteps when he discovered Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan's "Girl from the North Country" in high school. He has since released five studio albums and has been recently named one of the 100 greatest living songwriters by Paste Magazine, alongside Dylan, Springsteen, and Neil ... Read more in Amazon's Josh Ritter Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 9, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Signature Sounds
  • ASIN: B0000AQS3M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,321 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Bright Smile
2. Kathleen
3. You Don't Make It Easy Babe
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

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Ritter's literate, highly romantic brand of folk has gained him attention on both sides of the Atlantic. Hello Starling, his third album, sees him pushing the boat out further and trying to move beyond the evident influence of Bob Dylan. It doesn't always work: the up-tempo "Kathleen" and "Man Burning," with their swirling organs, clearly carry the mark of Zimmerman, as does the soft and heartfelt "You Don't Make It Easy Babe," a troubled ode to a troubling girl. But this doesn't necessarily matter. Ritter's vocal performances may lack the intensity and weight of Dylan or Leonard Cohen (an equally heavy influence, most evidently on the track "Wings"), but he has a charm and lightness of touch that will endear him to many. Beyond this, it's a real joy to hear a musician attempting ambitious narratives ("Wings," "Bone of Song") where many singer-songwriters cower cravenly behind impressionistic cut-up techniques or, worse still, spatter us with self-obsessed drivel. Perhaps a few albums on, Ritter will truly find his own voice and be considered a real find. --Dominic Wills

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 42 customer reviews
Hope you buy this and enjoy it as much as I am.
J. Villeneuve
Josh Ritter is an outstanding poet and musician - his lyrics are musical in themselves and, when combined with his music, they take you on a journey.
Kathleen
I listened to this album with some friends, and just purchased my own copy.
Rockford W.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Lee Armstrong HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 17, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Josh Ritter's second set builds so well upon his incredible first CD that it really is beyond the expectation of excellence. Opening in concert for Joan Baez who recorded "Wings" on her wonderful new "Dark Chords on a Big Guitar" CD, Ritter is a solid hit in Ireland, while remaining a critical darling and growing cult figure here in the U.S. Recorded on Curtis Mayfield's old recording equipment in a converted farmhouse in France, each track on this set glows. The opener "Bright Smile" is a sweet lovely track that Nick Drake's spirit could be humming. "Kathleen" is a classic track about a guy who sits on the sidelines at the dance waiting for the opportunity to drive a girl home. "You Don't Make It Easy Babe" has a lovely Dylanesque melody with Ritter's warm vocals. "Man Burning" is a rocker, "I've burned everybody who had a hand to lend." "Rainslicker" is so lovely and gentle, "Your eyes were so patient and calm, as green as the grass that might grow on the 23rd Psalm." Playing Josh's version of "Wings" next to Joan Baez's is an amazing study in excellence. It's an amazing tune as Josh references his Idaho roots, "We rode to Coeur d'Alene." "I'd rather be the one who loves than to be loved and never even know," Josh sings on the pulsing rocker "Snow Is Gone." "Bone of Song" is a beautiful melody with Josh's haunting lyric, "Lucky are you who finds me in the wilderness, I am the only unquiet ghost that does not seek rest." The CD concludes with another endearing track, "The Bad Actress." For those who enjoy acoustic music, Josh Ritter is one of the most amazing new artists to come along this century! This is a classic set that will be played and played for years to come. Best of the year quality. Enjoy!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Caitlin on October 25, 2003
Format: Audio CD
When I heard the opening lines of "Kathleen" (all the other girls here are stars- you are the northern lights) I fell in love with Josh Ritter's lyricism as well as his voice. I bought the album and was happy to find that it was all brilliant. From his opening song "bright smile" to the last "the bad actress" I was enthralled by his poetic lines and ability to morph from love songs to songs that are clearly reminescent of Dylan. An absolute must have.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Villeneuve on February 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I felt compelled to add my two-cents even though it echoes a lot of what has been said already. First, I'll start with the music: sometimes mellow, sometimes rocking, and sometimes in that in-between "listen to it anytime" vein. The sound and tightness of the music really struck me. Shades of Dylan, the Byrds, The Wallflowers come through loud and clear. Next, the lyrics: Witty, flowing and at times hilarious, profound and sad. Great stories and feelings delivered very concisely. Finally, the phrasing: It's that little something extra in the WAY he sings some phrases that push this album over the top for me. Every verse is not the same and there is a freshness with each line. There is Sinatra and Dylan in the liberties he takes and it makes for some great singing along. Hope you buy this and enjoy it as much as I am.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "nialle" on October 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The songs on this album are a motley flock of birds, but each one has an energetic grace that marks each as a creature of Ritter's aviary. The lyrical quality displayed on "Golden Age of Radio" has taken flight on this new album in combination with some solid backup and the emergence of a distinctive Ritter sound. Granted, no recording can capture Ritter's singular grin or the visible warmth he pours into live performances, but the recording setting for this album lends an intimacy and immediacy to the sound that allows Ritter the full range of his expression, from the understated laughter around lines like "that new thing you've got, I've got no clue what it's for" in "You Don't Make it Easy" to the passionate murmuring of "At last we saw some people" in the troubling and tearjerking "Wings," to the soft-spoken, unselfconscious grace of the gem of this collection, "Bone of Song." With imagery that unpretentiously recalls Yeats and tunes that ride as easily as a favourite old Johnny Cash, Ritter's work has already hit the Irish airwaves running and (with Joan Baez' cover of "Wings") is destined to become a folk-circuit favourite.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Josh Ritter: Hello Starling
By Joan Anderman, Globe Staff, 9/12/2003
It should surprise no one that Josh Ritter's second CD firmly establishes him as a songwriter of uncommon integrity and rare gifts. His 2000 debut, "The Golden Age of Radio," brimmed with disarming, literate narratives that earned the Idaho-born Boston resident an opening slot for Bob Dylan and comparisons to Johnny Cash and Townes Van Zandt. "Hello Starling," out this week, is a similarly understated gem. Ritter ups the ante with quietly lush arrangements that dangle like earth-toned ornaments around his plaintive drawl and bittersweet chord changes. Timeless isn't a word to be tossed around lightly, but the Dylanesque "You Don't Make It Easy," mystical, graceful "Bone of Song," and the dark ballad "Wings" -- which Joan Baez covers on her just-released new album -- are crafted with the sort of simple, burnished depth that transcends eras and turns 27-year-old tunesmiths into folk heroes. Ritter has a way with a winsome pop melody, too. "California" is a gauzy amble, seductive as a sunny stretch of coastline, while "Man Burning" and "Snow Is Gone" lope along with a graceful, alt-country effervescence reminiscent of Whiskeytown. Recorded in a converted dairy barn in the French countryside on vintage equipment -- the better to capture a far-flung sense of place and time -- this collection hasn't a weak link in it.
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