Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream
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Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream

Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream will serve as a blog for me to share my thoughts and musings, with a special emphasis on music. The music that will appear in this blog is for evaluation/sampling purposes only, and is designed to promote up and coming bands. Remember, if you like the artist(s), buy the CD! If you are the owner of a sound file and would like it removed, please contact us and we will kindly take it down.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

It sounds monumental, and maybe even a little pretentious, for Idahoan Josh Ritter to title an album The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. Who is he to claim such a rich past with his first major record label release? Well, in Ritter's defense, this is his fourth studio album, and he just may be one of the great songwriters of our time. Mixing one part Dylan, another part Springsteen, and throwing in a big dose of his own country-folk charm, Ritter has created a masterpiece with his latest release.

Some songwriters define themselves by their lyrical content, others by their musical accompaniment, and still others through an impeccably distinctive voice. The individual that can meld all three of these is a rare species, and I would venture to say that Ritter is one of them. He effortlessly moves from slow ballads about heartache to string and horn-infused rock arrangements about his own insecurities. All this he pulls off with a air of confidence and a folksy pomp that makes you think that he's that guy who's the baddest dude in town with a heart of gold.

On the opening track, "To the Dogs of Whoever", Ritter pays homage to an American icon, doig his best Springsteen impersonation. He then ventures into a piano-driven rock ditty "Mind's Eye" that can best be described as insanely catchy. He slides into "Right Moves" with violins blazing and horns ready to attack. As the album starts to catch, a darker jazzy rock "Rumors" comes on that also makes good use of some wind instrumentation. But on "Next to the Last Romantic", Ritter shows he can step back and laugh at himself as well. Ritter saves his best for next-to-last, though. On "Empty Hearts", he seems most comfortable. He opens with a beautiful stringed riff, and soon enters into a chorus of "Don't let me in to this year with an empty heart" that will have you singing along in no time.

It's really Ritter's ability to be but also appeal to the everyman that grants him such success in his songwriting. On The Historical Conquests.., Ritter ends up revering those who have come before him but also paving a way for new songwriters to join a rare collection of folks who have been blessed like him. As he polishes his own skills, he reveals his own influences from the past; in truth, his album title couldn't be more fitting.

GO AND BUY The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter.
Listen to "Empty Heart" (5/5)
Listen to "Rumors" (4.7/5)

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