Josh Ritter: The Animal Years

IN AN effort to escape the tumultuous world events of the last year, singer-songwriter Ritter has immersed himself, and his songs, in nostalgia and Utopian visions. Thus we have country-Americana in all its simple but effective glory, acoustic guitar-driv

IN AN effort to escape the tumultuous world events of the last year, singer-songwriter Ritter has immersed himself, and his songs, in nostalgia and Utopian visions.

Thus we have country-Americana in all its simple but effective glory, acoustic guitar-driven tunes backed, on Lillian, Egypt, by good-time piano and old-time tunesmithery.

The barely-there finger-picking on Idaho, meanwhile, soundtracks the atmospheric tale of a lone, haunted man who's taken to the road with nowhere to go.

His songs may be based on at times familiar melodic turns, but cunningly simple arrangements and harmonies, along with his characterful voice, freshen them up nicely.

Ritter rewards with every listen. 4/5