The Josh Ritter songbook

Inspired by Colin’s recent take on “Girl in the War,” I dusted off my Josh Ritter song book and recorded a couple of songs using my iPad’s GarageBand ap. Initially attempting to take my own advice and use a metronome to make a steady track, I quickly ran out of patience trying to line up beats, bars and time signatures in my rhythm track and decided to “just roll tape.” I added a little reverb to the vocal track, and then recorded an additional guitar track for each of “The Temptation of Adam” and “Monster Ballads,” both from Josh’s exceptional Animal Years album.

Of “Adam,” NPR says,

Ritter isn’t always obtuse in his imagery here, as he spells out “W-W-I-I-I” and evokes images of missile silos and top-secret fallout shelters. But he retains his gift for subtle, warmly evocative turns of phrase, as he woos a lover underground: “I never had to learn to love her / like I learned to love the bomb / She just came along and started to ignore me.” As their captive courtship unfolds and he romanticizes “looking up into the dark like it’s the night sky,” Ritter quietly revels in the simplicity of the end times, acknowledging that his romance would crumble if it weren’t unfolding in isolation. In the process, he learns that he doesn’t so much mind the world’s annihilation, provided he gets to hold someone when it happens.

The Temptation of Adam

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Monster Ballads

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