out ‘his attic’ ever couple of years and gets to repeat the process of hoarding emotions, stories and thoughts all over again. But that doesn’t necessarily mean everything that he writes and records happened to him. Ritter is a storyteller of fiction only. Autobiographical song-writing is something he expressly avoids and detests. “I would never write a song and claim it to be about me because I feel like there’s so much of that stuff out there already and I don’t like the sound of somebody’s self-emulation or martyrdom,” he says. “There are so many more interesting things to write about than trying to make your diary rhyme.”And it certainly cannot be said that Ritter writes anything that could be construed as self-indulgent as clearly demonstrated by the song ‘The Curse’ on his latest musical venture which is a frighteningly beautiful song of a love story between an archaeologist and her mummy. Taking his penmanship a step further, Ritter recently completed his first novel which is due to be published in 2011. The writing process he admits was a completely different experience to that of song-writing. “I feel much more naked with this novel than with song writing,” he says. “It’s a lot harder than I thought.” But it’s fun to push the boundaries of human comfort it seems. Further probing leads to a confession. “I don’t know the rules with this and didn’t feel completely at ease,” he says. “I wrote some stuff, but nothing I ever showed to anybody.” Thankfully he found the courage to showcase his work which was in turn picked up by publishing house Random House/Dial Press. Titled ‘Bright’s Passage,’ Ritter’s debut novel tells the story of a young man from West Virginia who goes to World War One and comes home with an angel that tells him to do things. “It’s a funny little book about their adventure over a week or so,” he chuckles. Slightly apprehensive about the reaction he will receive when it hits the shelves, Ritter agrees that some critics might argue that the story could have been summed up in a four minute song; something he has proven his ability in doing with conviction on every album. Not many artists that can release a volume of work like Ritter has done and keep the quality consistent throughout, but if you hadn’t gathered by now Ritter is no ordinary man. A freewheeling intellect as well as the ability to articulate thoughts and opinions poetically on a whim is extraordinary. “A great thing about doing records rather than singles is that whatever obsessions or hang-ups you have at a particular time go into it no matter whether you want it to or not.” That’s as close to an autobiography fans are going to get it seems.
Josh Ritters fifth studio album ‘So The World Runs Away’ is out now. Go to www.threadbaremusic.com to get your own copy now!
One of the greats.
Prototype folk music magazine