February 8, 2010

it’s only a change of time, love

change of time cover - ritter

My week just started wonderfully, with a free download in my inbox for “Change of Time” off Josh Ritter‘s forthcoming So Runs The World Away (May 4th in the US). The songs which fall from Josh’s pen and lilt from his guitar make him one of the most important songwriters of our generation (which some people disagree with me saying, because he’s not as commercially viable as, say, Green Day).

But it’s an interesting discussion (can art be “important” without being popular?) — and in the meantime I am thrilled to hear finished versions like this. I’ve been completely mesmerized by this song ever since I first posted a live version back on my birthday, and now I can untangle all the words.

Sometimes I feel like my memories are battered hulls and broken heart-ships, leviathan and lonely, too. I closed my eyes and kept on swimming.

Josh is writing a new blog called “(If there’s a) Book of Jubilations (we’ll have to write it for ourselves)” while he’s on tour this winter. I cannot wait for the full new album. Folks I know who have heard it were rendered void of meaningful speech, only able to say things to me in acronyms like “omg.”

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  • YAY! I just got the email announcement and forwarded on to friends. I agree with your sentiments about Josh. Can’t wait to hear this album.

    Claire — February 8, 2010 @ 9:32 am

  • What a great start to the week – he remains one of the most consistent songwriters working today – a new album is definitely reason to get excited!
    Thanks for sharing this.


    Scott McPherson — February 8, 2010 @ 11:03 am

  • I like it!

    Spookycat — February 8, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

  • Man. What a great song. I, too, was obsessed with this song thanks to the live version you posted (even though the sound quality was rough). I’ve thought about the ‘important songwriter’ idea a bunch lately (work hasn’t exactly been mentally challenging). I completely agree that he has to be in the conversation with those from this generation that can be considered our ‘most important songwriters.’ I just wonder though, who else do you put in that discussion?

    Adam — February 8, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

  • wonderful. just wonderful. josh ritter’s imaginative, meaningful, and beautiful lyrics continue to improve my world.

    Pacing the Cage — February 8, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

  • Heather + Josh = Love


    Bruce Warren — February 8, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

  • Josh Ritter is certainly one of the most important songwriters of our generation. Is he any less popular just because he is overlooked by a chunk of the population? Think of all those young singer-songwriters emulate his tunes in their own music. He is not important to them? What about when they grow up?

    Basically, I agree with you Heather! Long-time reader, first-time commenter, love your blog, please don’t stop

    Luke — February 9, 2010 @ 3:56 am

  • Love the song–makes my heart swell. Thank you, Heather!

    Matt — February 9, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

  • definitely one of the more underrated singer songwriters out there

    lafamos — February 9, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

  • Hey there Heather…great post from a fellow Ritter fan. I agree with you totally…it would be nice to hear more of whom Matty considers to be important to our generation (I belive Ryan Adams is still great & important enough whether or not he became Mr. Mandy Moore. Matty needs to give us some better examples).
    It seems people are so quick to criticize but so slow to elaborate. Blogs are technically opinion pages and everyone is entitled to their own and some are read and taken in more than others. If Josh Ritter adapted “The Animal Years” into a broadway show and played on the Grammys, would his stock go up? Definitely, but I would think he’d be just fine not doing so, and just writing and playing his songs for his devoted fanbase. I spread the word about him as much as possible and almost always get positive responses. It’s all in the eye of the beholder, but I believe the world needs more Josh Ritters than it needs more performers like Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Green Day. Some people prefer that music…I prefer Nellie Mckay, Corinne Bailey Rae, Patty Griffin and Nada Surf to name just a few. The argument over how much commercial success has to do with cultural importance could go and on, even if it’s premature. How much criticism do you think Jon Landau received when he crowned Springsteen the future of rock & roll in 1975? There’s nothing wrong with heaping praise upon “unknown” artistic talent when it is done with careful attention, intelligence and taste…it also helps to be a fan. But I do believe that just like my father passed on his Dylan records to me, I will be passing on my Ritter records to my own kids.
    Keep up the great work,

    Frank Joyce — February 10, 2010 @ 10:46 am

  • absolutely one of, if not THE most important songwriter of our generation. without the passing hype, he consistently puts out excellent records and writes moving songs.

    really one of the few guys writing songs today that, 10 years down the line, i can imagine referring to in the same breath as dylan, springsteen, neil young, leonard cohen, etc in terms of songwriting

    can’t wait for the new album

    scott — February 10, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

  • Josh is the best. Here are some live performances of the new tracks with suprisingly good quality. Found on youtube on “vanslyke 25″‘s page. Thanks to her!


    Ike — February 11, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

  • I think everyone with any sense knew what you meant when you said he was one of the most “important” songwriters of his generation – and no, it’s got nothing to do with sales or audience or political statements (although Ritter has made his fair share of those in his songs, too).
    If I had to name three songwriters from the past ten years who carry the torch for meaningful, lyrical songwriting (such as that of Dylan, Waits, Young et al), Josh Ritter would most definitely be among them.
    Your counter-blogger seems to hold a very old-fashioned view of music. It seems almost like he yearns for a time when everyone shared a common taste. One of the great things about music these days is that a wealth of varied artists can be important to different people for different reasons.
    So it was stupid for him to even take issue with the statement in the first place.

    Steve — February 14, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

  • totally agree with you heather! i’m a huge fan of john ritter’s work and a huge fan of your blog. and, can i just say that i garnered so much respect for you because of how you handled that little tiff between you and the other blogger (was his name matt?). you were nothing but class, while respectfully maintaining your opinion (that so many people have, too). he was, shall we say a douche? something like that. i wanted to alert more people to his ranting, but didn’t want to up his readership for acting that way towards you and/or his readers.

    thanks heather! and thanks for all the great music.

    kate — February 15, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

  • i just said john ritter, but clearly meant josh ritter. so embarrassed.

    kate — February 15, 2010 @ 5:49 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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