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Josh Ritter - Hello Starling

Hello Starling

Josh Ritter

SIG 1280

Signature Sound Recordings
P.O. Box 106
Whately, MA 01093 USA

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Michael Jurkovic

Though the moguls try to make music dictate life, life wins in the end. That's why, despite the glum and the glitz, a new generation springs to somehow correct the excesses of the old. Music does the same thing: Every few years a new crop comes along.

The laconic and neurotic John Mayer might work the star circuit but John Ritter can lead the pack. And he's a New Romantic too. Hello Starling doesn't come close to the definitive singer/songwriter album (we're talking Dylan's Freewheeling after all) but he's got some beauts on here that will make you want to hear his next; discover his unpretentious Golden Age Of Radio and uncover his self-titled 1999 debut.

Mixing the acoustic balladeer past with his own bright future, Ritter checks his angst and metaphysical questions at the door and never wonders where he left them. After the allusory grace of Bright Smile, Kathleen comes at you with instant classic written all over it. A summery, rolling heart-on-his-sleeve paen to the girl who is the Northern Lights, Kathleen will reward your listening again and again. Man Burning' rocks on using the 'burning candle at both ends' metaphor. Joan Baez has recently covered Wings so there's an endorsement you don't get everyday. The sunshine gauzy California will put you on the coastline, while the plaintively poetic Snow Is Gone and Bone Of Song will give rise to Leonard Cohen comparisons.

Hello Starling is that most welcome of discs that the jaded and cynical hear and comment "Hey, I haven't heard this many good songs in one place since, oh let's say Young's Harvest or Joni's Blue. Take my word for it. I've been jaded and cynical for am awfully long time.

Track List

  • Bright Smile
  • Kathleen
  • You Don't Make It Easy Babe
  • Man Burning
  • Rainslicker
  • Wings
  • California
  • Snow is Gone
  • Bone of Song
  • Baby That's Not All
  • The Bad Actress
Producer: David Odlum

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2004, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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