I just got back from seeing Josh Ritter at The Recher Theater in Towson, MD. This is the second time I’ve seen Ritter in the last few months, and if at all possible it won’t be the last. Ritter commands the stage with almost reckless enthusiasm, sweeping the audience along through his evocative songs. Behind him is one of the tightest bands you’ll ever see, locking the upbeat tunes into a hard groove and subtly adding presence to the ballads.
Highlights of the show included “Snow is Gone”, “Harrisburg”, a solo rendition of “Girl in the War”, the always amazing “Kathleen” (which included a 30 second group slow dance), and a version of “Lilian, Egypt” that ended with a disco sing-along, done in stages that represented major periods in American history from the 1860s to present. It’s hard to explain. I guess you had to be there.
Another high point was Ritter’s solo performance of a new song, which he announced as “Folk Bloodshed”. It was very much a Mississippi blues tune, with lyrics that incorporate the Stagger Lee story that’s so popular in the genre. A great new song.
If Josh and his band are coming anywhere near you, do yourself a favor and go see them. You won’t be disappointed.