WYEP Studio Session: Josh Ritter

Josh Ritter visited WYEP’s studios to discuss his music and new found occupation as a novelist. Ritter released his debut book, Bright’s Passage, last year. Josh spoke about the dark themes of the storyline and the darkness of some of his latest songs as well as getting reviewed by a master of darkness, Stephen King. He talked about his experience of recording the audio book version himself when a lot of authors don’t do this; “I very blithely went about writing the novel. When It came time to do an audio book, I thought I’ll put it out on my own label, I worked with Random House to do that. I found myself in Chicago working with this great musician and actor, Dan John Miller, he was in a band called Blanche, really fascinating dude. Ended up out there for 5 days reading. I probably read the book, 2 or 3 times over; realized I had to come up with all these voices! What a craft it is to do that well!” He shared the story of his recent health scare, a bout with acute exertional rhabdomyolysis, a condition caused by a breakdown of muscle fiber content into the bloodstream; “In the course of a day, or a day and a half, I gained 30 pounds. .. I ended up in the hospital with a lot of IV’s going into me and playing a game of wait and see as to whether my kidneys were gonna fail or my liver was gonna give up. All the while I looked like the Marshmallow man. It was a really scary, unplanned six day vacation” Ritter also gave insight about his upcoming album The Beast In Its Tracks that is scheduled for release March 5 and shared a new song called "Joy To You Baby." According to Ritter, this upcoming record will be more auto-biographical than his recent albums; “I’ve always believed that it’s important to steer away from auto-biography in music. I like the idea that you can work on something outside yourself. The outside world is always so much more entertaining and requires more imagination to describe in some way. But in the last little while, I’ve started working on music that is a little bit more auto-biographical and have taken some of the experiences that I’ve had and working on them in a way that I feel, I hope would be more relevant than to me.” He’s hoping to release the new album in early 2013 and again is working producer Sam Kassir, who also plays keyboards in Ritter’s backing group, The Royal City Band. Along with a new song, Josh Ritter played a song from his latest full length So Runs The World Away – “Lark”, one from The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter – “The Temptation of Adam” as well as a cover of “Moon River”.

Songs performed:
1) Lark
2) Joy to You Baby
3) The Temptation of Adam
4) Moon River