Touring behind a 2013 recording celebrated for its fresh approach to the weary theme of love gone wrong, singer-songwriter Josh Ritter will perform on Sunday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall at Bates College in Lewiston.
Named one of the “100 Greatest Living Songwriters” by Paste magazine in 2006, Ritter is an American musician and author known for his distinctive Americana style and storytelling lyrics. The Bates concert is part of an acoustic tour presenting Ritter’s songs in stripped down, intimate arrangements.
His latest album, “The Beast in Its Tracks,” was released in March 2013 on Pytheas Recordings. It follows 2010’s “So Runs The World Away” (Pytheas), about which NPR Music’s Bob Boilen declared, “I’ve come to expect good records from him . . . but this one took my breath away.”
“Beast” is making its own mark, thanks to the recently divorced Ritter’s eschewing of a one-dimensional approach to that old musical cliché, the breakup album.
The record offers a “messy, sometimes undignified emotional complexity, placing venom and malice alongside cheery faith and fresh optimism,” wrote Jonathan Bernstein for American Songwriter. “On the album’s best songs, the singer spends his energy convincing himself he’s over a tough breakup and in a better, happier place with his new-found love.”
“In the year after my marriage ended, I realized I had more new songs than I’d ever had at one time,” Ritter says. “Far from the grand, sweeping feel of the songs on ‘So Runs the World Away,’ these new songs felt like rocks in the shoe – hard little nuggets of whatever they were, be it spite, remorse or happiness.”
Ritter’s other albums include “Josh Ritter” (self-released), “Golden Age of Radio” (Signature Sounds), “Hello Starling” (Signature), “The Animal Years” (V2), and “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter” (Independent Records).
In 2011, Ritter made his literary debut with the novel, “Bright’s Passage,” published by Dial Press/Random House, which hit the New York Times best-seller list. The book “shines with a compressed lyricism that recalls Ray Bradbury in his prime,” Stephen King wrote in The New York Times Book Review. “This is the work of a gifted novelist.”
Tickets for this Olin Arts Alive series event are $35 and can be purchased at batestickets.com. Olin Arts Center is located at 75 Russell Street. For more information, call 786-6135 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.