January 19, 2010

Hello blackbird, hello starling

…Winter’s over, be my darling
been a long time coming but now
snow is gone.

Josh Ritter is one of the most important songwriters of our generation, consistently producing breathtaking songs that are rife with symbolism, rich with meaning, and brimming over with the kind of heart that I want to have.

While we wait for his new album this year (one of my most anticipated in 2010, based on things like this) yesterday brought the news that Ritter is re-releasing Hello Starling, his third album, with all kinds of fancy extras.

This album contains several of my all-time favorite songs from Ritter: Kathleen (for lines like, “all the other girls here are stars, you are the northern lights” and “every heart is a package tangled up in knots someone else tied”) and Bone of Song (a spine-tingly story about creative inspiration).

And also this one, which I have been listening the bejesus out of this last month. Even if a glance around me tells me that the snow is still here, the ice is caked in the shade, and the water is frozen over impenetrably, for a while when i listen to this song I can close my eyes and feel that real shoot of green hope, somewhere underneath. Hope in spite of this grey reality.

I’m underneath your window now
it’s long after the birds have gone to roost
and I can’t tell if I’m singing for the love of it
or for the love of you…

Snow Is Gone – Josh Ritter

This new 2-CD deluxe reissue of Hello Starling also includes a bonus CD of Josh performing the whole album solo acoustic, four live bonus cuts (Josh plus full band) as well as rewritten, spiffed up liner notes, photos, and essays. Buy it at Newbury Comics (limited booklets autographed by Josh) or at your independent record store (www.thinkindie.com). Oh and while you’re at it – Josh also has a new song “Great Big Mind” on the 1% for the Planet compilation.

Josh Ritter is playing tonight at the Radio City Music Hall with The Swell Season, then it’s off to a bunch of dates in Europe. I plan to see him this summer at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival with Mumford and Sons. Yes, please.

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  • Josh Ritter, 2012?

    LOVE him. So talented, definitely a treasure of modern music.

    Linda — January 19, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

  • Josh Ritter always bums me out. His name is too close to John Ritter, and that’s who I’d rather read about.

    Peter — January 20, 2010 @ 3:21 am

  • Peter, you’ll be happy to hear that the guy sitting behind me last night declared him, “John Ritter’s son. You know, that guy from Three’s Company.”

    Glen made a brief mention of NPR. Hopefully, that means the show will be appearing on the “All Songs” concert podcast. It really was an amazing show. I think the highlight for the NY/NJ crowd was a Springsteen cover of “Drive All Night” with Clarence Clemons’ nephew on sax.

    Stacey — January 20, 2010 @ 9:05 am

  • i’ll try to get more john ritter content on here for ya ;)

    browneheather — January 20, 2010 @ 9:05 am

  • You totally made my day with this!!! I can’t wait to get the solo versions.

    And don’t let the winter bog you down too much. Camus said it best: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

    Brian — January 20, 2010 @ 9:08 am

  • I’m often forwarding your posts to my brother and sister when you hit on something I want them to hear, or some music we had already been discussing. Today my brother beat me to the punch and made sure I checked out your post on Josh Ritter. I couldn’t agree more with your take on him. I broke out Hello Starling a week or so ago and have kept circling back to Snow is Gone. For me it has represented the lifting of the weight of holiday blues.

    Luke — January 20, 2010 @ 9:24 am

  • Oh my God, Heather.

    I’ve been obsessing over THOSE THREE SONGS this past month, too.

    Let’s just get conjoined at the hip already.

    Kathleen — January 20, 2010 @ 9:37 am

  • if they did it wisely, it might not even leave a scar.

    browneheather — January 20, 2010 @ 10:35 am

  • oh holy heck.

    browneheather — January 20, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

  • I actually bought both the Hello Starling reissue and The Animal Years reissue from Ireland late last year. Both acoustic versions of the albums are fantastic. The B-Sides on The Animal Years are quite good as well, only being available on the Ireland-only CD single of “Good Man.” Josh Ritter is indeed one of the greatest songwriters of the last 20 years, and he keeps getting better. People need to buy this, and also The Animal Years reissue when it comes out here in the U.S.

    Jason — January 20, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

  • It was via your blog that I was introduced to Josh Ritter about a year ago and he quickly became one of my favorites. Thanks for bringing his amazing music into my life!

    Kate — January 22, 2010 @ 2:08 am

  • [...] I Am Fuel, You Are Friends: Hello Blackbird, Hello Starling [...]

    Trawlin’ The Blogroll « It All Started With Carbon Monoxide — January 24, 2010 @ 12:21 am

  • I can’t explain how excited I am about Josh Ritters upcoming album! It’s going to take a lot to live up to his past records but if anyone can do it, it’s Josh.
    Are there any details out yet? Also, he’s touring europe but not even coming to England! Outrage…

    Alex — January 24, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

  • Josh Ritter was my first music gig, something I had waited for for a real long time. After many more musical experiences to follow Josh has yet to be knocked off the top as my favourite performance. I’ve never seen one man soo happy to be playing his songs for you. Can’t wait for the album.

    Sarah — January 31, 2010 @ 10:16 am

  • [...] have to take issue with something she recently wrote & while it may seem like an innocuous statement, I found it to be quite hyperbolic & pretty much baseless. Josh Ritter is one of the most [...]

    If They Can’t Find a Way To Help Her They Can Go To Hell « The De Mello Theory — February 4, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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