Tag Archives: Josh Ritter

If They Can’t Find a Way To Help Her They Can Go To Hell

So it may come as a bit of a surprise to some people, but I’m a pretty big reader. I read everything I can get my hands on: books, magazines, The Huffington Post, The L.A./N.Y. Times & other music blogs. One blog that I try to read daily is Heather Browne’s Fuel Friends Blog. I can’t tell you how many new artists I have discovered by simply reading this fantastic blog. I do, however, have to take issue with something she recently wrote & while it may seem like an innocuous statement, I found it to be quite hyperbolic & pretty much baseless.

Josh Ritter is one of the most important songwriters of our generation, consistently producing breathtaking songs that are rife with symbolism, rich with meaning, and brimming over with the kind of heart that I want to have.

Most important songwriter’s of our generation? Really? Josh Ritter is a fantastic writer who regularly puts out great music, but most important of our generation? Not even close. He’s not even that well known. I do think he’s talented, but as far as his importance to music…I can’t understand how he is remotely important. He’s not standing up for anything, speaking out against injustices or even bringing something new to the table.

Important songwriters of our generation (I guess that’s applying to Generation X) would be more like Billie Joe from Green Day, whether you like his music or not with American Idiot he said some pretty unpopular things to many people & received quite the backlash for standing on principle. Another would be Jeff Tweedy who revolutionized the alt-country genre twice with Uncle Tupelo & then Wilco. Ryan Adams has such an amazing body of talented work that he is a better example of one the most talented writers of our generation.

This is the problem with today’s over-saturation of music. It used to be that everybody knew pretty much who everybody was, but now with everybody being slotted nicely into their own little groups, labels like, “greatest songwriter of our generation” are just tossed around without so much as a thought.

I contend that Josh Ritter is not very important at all. If he stopped writing music, sure it would suck, but would the world be that much worse off? Think about how shitty music has been since Ryan Adams decided to get married & be happy. Elliot Smith, who again I’m not a huge fan of, was one of the most important songwriter’s of our generation & that is prevalent in the number of artist’s who try to emulate his sound.

I find it slightly irresponsible to be so hyperbolic & I’m pretty surprised that someone usually so spot on with her exclamations would just spout off like that. It’s not innocuous, it’s not small, this our music, this is important to many of us who believe that this is a renaissance in music much like the ’60′s was the evolution. I love Heather’s blog, she is extremely knowledgeable in regards to music, but in this case just flat out wrong.

Girl in the War (Live at the Record Exchange) – Josh Ritter

Wings – Josh Ritter

Bandit (Live at the Record Exchange) – Josh Ritter

When will I know I have finally arrived?

So I haven’t been actually writing enough on this page. Sure, I post at least 4-5 times a week, but I mean actually writing like I used to, some extended commentary on something that catches my fancy. So I intend on trying to do that at least once a week & we’ll see what happens. To that end, I watched Funny People last night at the Arclight Dome in Hollywood (the best place in the world to see a movie) & it’s theme of having loved & lost led me down a familiar path. After this there will be some spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie & intend to then maybe you don’t want to read this.

That being said the prevailing plot is basically about a famous comedian who finds out he has a serious illness & in that sense of reflection, that inevitably comes near the end of ones life, he realizes that he really screwed things up when he cheated on his fiance 12 years previously. I encountered something similar in one of my relationships. Though, the circumstances are slightly different, the underlying concept is still the same. I was with a girl for 5 years & I too cheated on her. It was only until later that I fully realized that mistake that I’d made, but by then it was too late, irreparable damage done.

I spoke to her only on a few other occasions, mostly to tell me what a jerk I was & she had every right to be angry. I violated a sacred trust between two people, a trust that says I’m with you & you alone. I still feel that pain in the depths of my soul. I don’t dwell on it or get too introspective about it as I once did. The whole, “what could I have done better thing?” has long since passed me by, not cheating would’ve been a good place to start. I made some pretty awful mistakes, mistakes made by a 28 year old kid with an over-inflated sense of self importance & arrogance. Knowing, however, is only half the battle. It’s how you learn from these mistakes that helps you on the path.

My mother tells me her definition of crazy all the time. “It’s doing the same thing over and over again & expecting a different result.” Life will cripple you if you let it. The trick is to not let it, but to deal with it & move on. I’ve heard the cliche saying “Life is a Journey” but I choose to think of life as a series of vignettes. I am not the same person I was 5 years ago, it’s like I’m a different character played by the same person. The issue I take with Funny People is that the lead character has not progressed, he has not evolved. He is the same person he was 12 years ago only lonelier. It’s not that I forget about the things I’ve done, they’re neatly filed away in my brain under things of utter consequence.

I pride myself on realizing my life is going in a direction now that, while I know not where it will end up, is a direction nevertheless that I can see turning out well. Music has helped my evolution as this vignette carries me forward towards the next. It has helped me through tragedy & idiocy & who knows what this vignette would be like had it not been for the savior I call Music.

Where to Begin – My Morning Jacket

Close to Me (Closet Remix) – The Cure

Wings – Josh Ritter

December Nights – AJ Roach

That Certain Female – Charlie Feathers