Josh Ritter So Runs The World Away

Josh Ritter So Runs The World Away
Is there a more musical singer-songwriter around than Josh Ritter? He stakes a strong claim to that crown with this stunningly accomplished album, his fifth. Many of these tracks would work as instrumentals, such is their melodic quality. "The Curse," for instance, is a hauntingly gentle, piano-based waltz, with a plaintive trumpet calling to the dawn. The fact that his lyrics are equally imaginative is almost a bonus, while his fluid vocal style has a graceful ease about it. "Folk Bloodbath" features an appearance by the legendary Staggerlee, while other songs cover themes of exploration, solitude and the magic of nature. This was reportedly a difficult two years in the making, but it was time well-spent. "The songs feel to me as if they were painted in oil on large canvasses," says Ritter, and the epic panoramas some paint back him up. More minimal tunes like "Lark" are equally effective. A winner. (Pytheas)