So one of my pet peeves is when people say "I have a lot of best friends." Yeah, can you really pluralize "best" or "favorites"? If you were to ask me who my favorite singer-songwriter was, I'd rack my brain analyzing the showmanship, songwriting, performance styles, lyrics, compositions, etc, between Ray Lamontagne, David Gray, Damien Rice, Gregory Alan Isakov, Bright Eyes and my boy, Josh Ritter. Stephen King hailed Ritter's "Girl In the War" from The Animal Years as one of the best examples of songwriting of the decade. Many industry notables have hailed him the receiver of the torch Springsteen and Dylan will pass. I will tell you this. I've listened to Ritter's "Thin Blue Flame" (my generation's version of Dylan's "A Hard Rains A Gonna Fall") well over 200 times. Easily. I'm still not through sifting the deep metaphors, the biblical and pop historical references and complete direction contained within that masterful ballad. I will also say that though my favorite Ritter concert is not my favorite concert of all time, I've undoubtedly never ever seen anyone happier and more appreciative to be what he is doing while on stage.
Paste Magazine just unveiled Josh Ritter's newest ruby, a live version of "Wildfires." I say ruby because let's be honest folks, Josh's artillery is strong and a ruby among a collection of diamonds is still pretty damn nice. From his Live At The 9:30 Club mini-release, comes a bonus song from the Irish Edition, out on Independent Records. Sorry, it's not available in the U.S. just yet, but my Pennsylvania pen pal always seems to jump boarders and round up some obscure Ritter releases for me. Happy Friday to you, especially when you have some Ritter in company.
Josh Ritter - Wildfires (live)