Even though his Josh Ritter‘s new album The Beast In Its Tracks was written in the wake of his divorce, it doesn’t sound like a breakup album. The album is out on March 5th via Pytheas Recordings, and as NPR Music points out in its First Listen premier of the record, “gentility and empathy are wired into Ritter’s songwriting” so much that the album can be upbeat and even funny while also being profoundly sad. NPR’s Stephen Thompson writes:
The Beast in Its Tracks mostly hovers in a fascinating spot, where Ritter’s emotional timeline is concerned: Even in the album’s darkest moments, he’s more bruised than wounded, yearning to compartmentalize and preserve the happy memories that remain, and recovered enough to delight in fresh romantic encounters. He’s a man trying on newfound wisdom and finding that it doesn’t always fit, but he lands in a meaningful place: processing a breakup as the necessary catalyst for a new reality in which everyone has a shot at happiness.