Josh Ritter: Hello Future Classics 

Josh Ritter's album Hello Starling, released on V2 Records February 22, is a record to be placed next to Blonde on Blonde, At Folsom Prison, and White Ladder. The first time I heard track number one "Bright Smile, Dark Eyes," suddenly all other music I had been listening to sucked-and my current favorites only backslid as the album progressed. Ritter's bare-boned songs demand repeated listens not because of the occasional electronic blip in the production, but due to the spacious melodies and literary lyrics.

The centerpiece of Hello Starling is a song called "Wings." This haunting ballad was recently covered by folk great Joan Baez and contains references to 19th century Idaho. The most interesting track in my opinion is "The Bone of Song" where Ritter sings of a bone much like the Rosetta Stone. The bone is "The only unquiet ghost that does not seek rest ... (it will) remember your song, but (it will) forget your name." In a recent Triste interview, Ritter said great songs will be remembered a hundred years from now even though we may forget the people who wrote them. And so it is. We'll remember "Ring of Fire" but we may forget Johnny and June Carter wrote it, as the collection of future classics Ritter is currently writing will be memorable even when his name fades.

- Ryan Peck

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