Josh Ritter: ‘I guess it adds up/ to joy in the end.’

By Mad Dog
Published: Dec 11, 2012

Two years ago, on tour in Canada, Josh Ritter got a phone call from his wife. Marriage over. After 14 months. Okay, so at the lowest moments of our lives it’s music that gives us comfort. But what if you’re a musician whose life gets flattened — whose music do you turn to? After you’ve played Bach and the Blues, I suspect you take out your notebook and guitar and…. bleed. Which Josh did. And then made a CD, “The Beast in Its Tracks” (to be released on March 5). Are these songs howls of unfiltered, primal pain? Not possible. Josh is one of the best singer/songwriters we’ve got. Emotion may hit him hard, but it leaves him changed. Filtered. Transformed. Listen to Joy to You Baby, which I hear as an unlikely but completely Joshlike good wish to his ex — and a reminder that a beating heart can’t help but seek love, joy, transcendence.