Friday, August 10, 2012

Master Storyteller: Josh Ritter (Prologue)

I've been a fan of Josh Ritter's words and music for a good few years now, and as his discography keeps growing, so does my respect for him as a musician. Many people have no idea who Josh Ritter is, and his music isn't played nearly enough on Canadian or American radio waves. However, he has a dedicated and passionate fan-base, like any majorly talented singer-songwriter will eventually earn. While his musical style may hop around from acoustic to pop rock to country and beyond, in his heart, he's a folk storyteller. While some of his songs come from a more personal standpoint, a large portion of his lyrics are written as historical accounts, fables, and character studies. Many of Ritter's songs are based around historic events/settings (sometimes in the future), and he creates a fictional narrative within that realm.

Today, I'm posting two of my favourite time-bending Josh Ritter songs, ' The Temptation of Adam' and 'The Curse', which could both be considered unconventional love stories. 'Temptation' tells the story of a scientist and a soldier living underground in a missile silo. At first, she's skeptical of the soldier, but he soon proves to her that he has a brain and a heart and isn't just a killing machine. 'The Curse' tells the story of a mummified man waking up after thousands of years and immediately falling in love with the archaelogist that is studying him. She writes about him, tours with him, and teaches him how to feel human again. But eventually, being immortal takes its toll and he outlives his companion, who grows old before his eyes. Pretty heavy stuff for such a beautiful song.

Sometime in the future, I'll post a full-on review of Josh Ritter and my experiences with his music (I sure do post a lot of these teasers, don't I? I hope to follow through with every one of them). But today, I'm celebrating and sharing two of my favourite song/stories by a man who is destined to be considered among the likes of Neil Young, Tom Petty, and even Bob Dylan, as his career keeps progressing. Josh Ritter proves that a song can be much more than a catchy tune, a couple verses, and a hit chorus. He creates worlds with his music and in those worlds are characters that can make you laugh, break your heart, and get you thinking.

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