Last night it happened again. I never really knew much about Josh Ritter until a friend kept pushing him on me. At first, "The Animal Years" didn't hit me that much. And with the plethora of music out there, for some reason, I didn't return that often. Then came "The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter". Wow. This record has BLOWN ME AWAY. I hear early Springsteen, The Beach Boys, Highway 61 Dylan. Ritter's new record might be the best record I've heard in ten years.
Last night I got to see him perform live for the first time. I had high expectations and those expectation were FAR exceeded. The range of emotions onstage was beyond words. First off, Ritter is ecstatic while performing. Almost every song is met with a huge smile at some point. I've never seen a musician look so thrilled to be performing. At the same time, when he's belting out the lyrics to say "Mind's Eye" you can see the anger and fury. Maybe it's politics or the state of the world, or maybe it's something else. But Ritter let's it all out. He shares it all with audience.
As any fan of rock n' roll knows, in the early 70s, then Rolling Stone writer Jon Landau left a show in Cambridge, Mass. and proclaimed, "I've seen the future of rock n' roll, and it's name is Bruce Springsteen." I can't properly put into words what I saw last night, but that quote kept coming to mind.