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Burlington-based singer-songwriter Caroline Rose headlines World Cafe Live tonight. The Burlington, VT singer-songwriter debuted last year with a lovely album called America Religious that Folkadelphia’s Fred Knittel compared in equal parts to Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Carole King. “It’s Americana and it’s not,” Knittel wrote, introducing Rose’s Folkadelphia session. “It’s rock-and-roll and it’s not, it’s rootsy and it’s not. Her music exists somewhere at the confluence of these styles, but also carries the ambiguities of living without of these genres.” Tickets and information on Rose’s show tonight can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, stream her Folkadelphia session, and download it at Bandcamp.
Just about a year ago, Josh Ritter released a moving collection of songs called The Beast in its Tracks. It was notably the first time that this favorite of the singer-songwriter scene wrote from a true first-person perspective, collecting a range of thoughts and emotions in the wake of his 2011 divorce and channeling them into songs that were remarkably stirring, beautiful and – on standout track “Joy to You Baby” – even optimistic. The album went on to receive widespread critical acclaim, and Ritter toured in support of it both with his five-piece Royal City Band and by himself.
On Thursday night, he splits the difference, playing at The Keswick Theatre in Glenside acoustically, accompanied by musical collaborators Zack Hickman and Josh Kaufman. It won’t be a full-on rock set, allowing Ritter to touch on the more nuanced moments of his catalog, but he won’t be by himself either, allowing the set to be built around a dynamic rise-and-fall. “It’s something I’ve been jonesing for,” he told me when I caught up with him via phone enroute to a show in Louisville earlier this week. We talked about the differences between playing with a band and playing solo, the unexpected success of Beast and what to do when your opening act gives you an axe.
The Key: Does the opportunity to do solo or more intimate shows like this become more of a rare thing for you the longer you’re a performing musician?
Josh Ritter: I would hope not! I started playing solo, for many years. When I write, I write solo. And there’s so much about that part of it that I find to be the foundational aspect of my songs. I really believe that songs, to be lasting, should be able to played by anybody. It shouldn’t require virtuosic talent and instrumentation – and that’s good for me because I’m no virtuoso when it comes to playing guitar! [laughs] And then I also believe that a song should only need to be delivered by a single voice. I really like the idea of a strand of melody going around in my head and the words kind of dovetailing that. I live for those moments, and I believe in a show those can be really important. You don’t need to have anything else to reach an audience then just voice and guitar or voice and some instrument. You can always add on [in the studio], and that’s great. But it’s best to remind yourself every so often that you can do it on your own.
TK: Yeah, and chasing that a little bit further, can you compare and contrast playing with your full band to playing a more scaled-down version of it like you’re doing on this tour, or even straight up playing solo? What do you like about playing with the guys ,what do you like about playing alone?
JR: Well it all basically comes down to – without sounding too much like a hippie – is there’s a real tangible flow of energy between the performer and the audience. I think when you’re performing, that is a strand or a power that you don’t want to sever or dilute any. When you’re playing on your own it’s just you and the audience and that’s a really incredible thing. With a band, that gets trickier. You’re sharing your energy with the band the band is focusing its energy through you and it can be an ecstatic experience, but it can also be something you can all too easily fold yourself into and get lost in the energy of the band and pay less attention to what’s going on between you and the audience. Continue reading →
Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter will bring his acoustic tour to Glenside, PA’s Keswick Theatre on 2/27. Ritter released his seventh studio album, The Beast in Its Tracks, earlier this year, and it’s been hailed as his most personal effort to date. Check out the album’s first single, “Joy To You Baby” below. Tickets go on sale this Friday, October 11th at noon through Keswick Theatre’s website .
Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Marc Neibauer (formerly known as Eat Your Birthday Cake) takes the stage at Johnny Brenda’s tonight. Following up on his LP Don’t Fall Apart, released last month on Bandcamp, Neibauer proudly posted a new demo called “How Long” on his Soundcloud earlier this week. It paints extensive aural landscapes with his intense, intimate voice over top of swirling guitar melodies. Take a listen to the haunting demo below. Find tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show here.
JEFF the Brotherhood kick off a two-night stand at Kung Fu Necktie tonight. The Nashville band of brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall got the music bug from their father, who has written / produced for Taylor Swift and Reba McEntire. The younger Orralls’ brand of music couldn’t be much further from that of Swift’s though – with a raucous live show and a sound that inevitably finds itself described as grungy, scuzzy and sludgy, JEFF the Brotherhood attract attention through a barrage of loud and distorted but equally quirky and endearing rock songs on their latest Hypnotic Nights LP. Tickets and information for tonight and tomorrow’s shows can be found here. Watch them perform “Sixpack” on Late Night with David Letterman below.
Josh Ritter fans, you don’t want to miss this one. Below, in exchange for your e-mail address, download for free Live At The Iveagh Gardens, 20 plus songs of massive Josh-ness doing what he does best. It was recorded at the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin in July, 2010. Josh plays The Trocadero on Thursday, May 16th with the Felice Brothers. Go here for tickets to the show.
The songs that unfold on The Beast in Its Tracks are the stories of Josh. It’s the most personal collection he’s ever created. It’s an album that documents his recent divorce and what it took to get back on his feet. And while writing about himself may be something that’s been outside of Josh’s comfort zone, this period of time served inspiring as far as songwriting is concerned. While on paper, the typical “breakup” album usually calls for a collection of sad songs, yet The Beast in Its Tracks doesn’t give in to this formula completely. Songs like “Hopeful” and “Joy to You Baby” both fit into the arch of the album and at the same time offer just enough optimism moving forward.
Below, in exchange for your e-mail address, download “Joy To You Baby.”
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.