Wordsmith a fitting and well-deserved honorific for Josh Ritter, named by Paste Magazine in 2006 as ‘one of the 100 greatest living songwriters’ for his deep, expressive voice, keen wit and evocative way with words. Ritter has built a loyal following as one of the leading lights on the Americana scene with his incisive songwriting. Also the author of two novels, the title of his latest, The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All, gives a window into his lyrical approach. Garnering praise for his unadorned vocals, it is his ability to create a character and arc a story in the length of just a song that has made him iconic. Ritter broke from his unrelenting touring schedule to enter the studio for 2019’s Fever Breaks, alongside friend and notable songwriter and producer Jason Isbell, and Isbell’s band The 400. The resulting album sees Ritter taking the lessons learned plumbing the corners of Americana, pop and traditional roots for nearly 20 years and weaving them into a transcendent album. Ritter’s songs can be at times searing (“The Torch Committee” with a quiet aural storm underlying his political invective) but more often deliver moments that evoke warm summer nights and the intimacy shared between friends. Intimately dazzling with lyrical charm and musical grace on stage, Ritter’s songs feel secretive, as though he is softly unspooling his tales of fully realized characters to each listener alone.
Biography by Derek McEwen