Any day on which a new Josh Ritter record is released is a good day. Thus, today, my friends, is a good day.

Ritter’s music has been important to me (and my wife…and our relationship) since I first heard him sing “All the other girls here are stars, you are the northern lights…” This line, from the song Kathleen off his album Hello Starling, was all it took to hook me on his music for good. (I know, this is not his first record, how uncool to join the bandwagon after the fact, but believe me, I dug into the back catalog as well).

Hello Starling was amazing and is lodged in my memory of the spring that my wife and I first started dating. But as good as that record is, his next, The Animal Years blew it out of the water. Maybe the best album I own. Maybe. Even Stephen King named it his best album of 2006, calling the stand-out track “Thin Blue Fame,” “…the most exuberant outburst of imagery since Bob Dylan’s ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,’ in 1963.”

Ritter followed The Animal Years with The Historical Conquest of Josh Ritter, another great album which showed not only his maturing lyrical skills, but also his penchant for some jangly rock and roll.

Today So Runs the World Away dropped, intricately bridging the depth of The Animal Years‘ lyrics with the fidelity of The Historical Conquest’s music and production. I’m stil absorbing it (and I started absorbing it about a week ago when NPR offered a pre-release stream), and I can’t see it dropping out of rotation anytime soon. I mean, it features a song about an Egyptian mummy coming back to life and falling in love with an Egyptologist. What more do you need? (Read Josh describing the origins of this particular tune, “The Curse,” at Paste.)

Do buy it, you won’t be sorry. I feel confident saying that. 

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Jonathan D. Fitzgerald

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