Josh Ritter Biography

1976, Moscow, Idaho, USA. Raised in Idaho, singer-songwriter Ritter originally intended to follow in his parents’ footsteps by applying to study science at Oberlin College. His love of singer-songwriters such as Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt diverted his career path, and after graduation he relocated to the east coast where he began playing the café circuit, honing his self-written material along the way. Ritter’s self-titled 1999 debut album was only given a limited release but impressed most of those who managed to hear it. The artist’s richly observed narratives were conveyed via his raw voice and a subtle blend of folk, country and pop styles. A follow-up was recorded in similar low-key circumstances but, following a limited release in 2001, Golden Age Of Radio came to the attention of the Signature Sounds label. The album was remastered and the track order reworked for national release the following year.

In an unusual turn of events, Ritter’s career then took off in Ireland following a series of support slots for the cult band the Frames. The single ‘Me & Jiggs’ broke into the Irish Top 40 and by the end of the year Ritter was playing a series of sold-out headline shows. By now established as one of the most promising of the new breed of US singer-songwriters, Ritter’s third album was recorded on vintage equipment in a French farmhouse. Hello Starling was another understated master-class in traditional songwriting virtues. The ballad ‘Wings’ attracted the attention of veteran folk rock icon Joan Baez, who recorded the track for her new album. Ritter subsequently signed a major label recording contract with V2 Records.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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