Golden Age of Radio
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Golden Age Of Radio
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This Idaho-born singer/songwriter made a modest splash when his debut album was released in 2000, and after three years of watching his profile gradually rise on the national and international scene (he has an enthusiastic cult following in Ireland, including a cover band devoted to his songs, and Joan Baez has covered "Wings"), the Signature Sounds label reissued Golden Age of Radio, Ritter's sophomore effort, with a bonus disc that includes drastic remixes of two album tracks, one previously unreleased song, and two videos. Ritter's voice is charmingly unremarkable -- not ironic or casual or self-effacing, just pleasantly plain with an occasional hint of Dylan-style Okie affectation. You'll also hear hints of Freedy Johnston and fainter hints of Tom Waits in songs like "Roll On" and "Drive Away." Producer Darius Zelkha wisely avoided gussying these songs up, keeping Ritter's acoustic guitar and unadorned voice central to most of the arrangements and embroidering them tastefully with the occasional drum kit or electric guitar. [Not surprisingly, the remixes on the bonus CD take a very different tack, turning "Come and Find Me" into something much richer and more atmospheric and "Other Side" into a kind of twisted Americana trip-hop. "Chelsea Hotel #2" is a delicately lovely voice-and-guitar number.) If you own the original release, this reissue may not have enough new material to justify a new purchase, but it's definitely worth picking up as an introduction to this impressive young artist.] ~ Rick Anderson, Rovi
This scruffy, well-traveled, literate Rhode Islander recalls the desultory whispers of Nick Drake, the ragged tunefulness of Ryan Adams, and the natural wit of a young John Prine. He may come off as a slacker, painting his name on water towers and jamming to Townes Van Zandt on the porch, but his lyrical skills, unpretentiously poetic and refreshingly concise, suggest a purposefulness that's deeper than just folksy charm. Within the sparest musical framework--fingerpicked guitar, whirling organ, lo-fi drums, some bass--Ritter evokes a delicately dense romanticism that's more on-edge than earnest. "This world must be frightening," he sings, "everybody's on the run/but I can't leave this world behind." There's quiet wisdom in Ritter's world; fans of post-Dylan singer-songwriters will want to listen close. --Roy Kasten
Top customer reviews
Coincidentally, Josh was playing right near me a week later, in an intimate venue of 150. We went to see him and he was excellent. Humorous, while humble he strummed through each song masterfully, while adding interesting anecdotes to how he wrote some songs and how he came to be a musician. It was a great evening.
My favorites include, "Come and Find Me," "You've got the moon" and "Leaving." The ending track, "Song for Fireflies" ends with a very moving guitar that brings this album altogether very nicely. If you like "New" folk, then definitely pick this one up.
I recently discovered Josh after hearing a killer cover of Lawrence KS by Richard Shindell and, while I think he has potential and can write great songs the sound here is derivitive... (in this order; Iron and Wine, Towns Van Zandt, Nick Drake, Warren Zevon, David Bowie/Kurt Cobane, The Beatles, Bob Dylan...) somewhere towards the end of the CD I start to hear Josh's style... and it stikes me as good unpolished American folk; a genuine artist still searching for his voice. I'll keep listening, at least he's following in big footsteps.
In short, I highly recommend this album. Josh was a featured artist in the College of Charleston's songwriter's class for his powerful and beautiful lyrics (only six such artists are featured per semester), and he has a large following among the intellectual crowd. Aside from his songwriting talents, Josh's music exudes a...how can I say it...virginal appeal...it is all so fresh and new. Untainted by the music business, fame, and fortune (although I predict such things are in his future!), Josh Ritter is a rarity....a diamond still in the rough who is still so natural, pure, and untainted. Do yourself a favor and purchase both of Ritter's albums....I guarantee you will not be disappointed!!