Josh Ritter

The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (Sony / BMG)

Phases & Stages

Josh Ritter

The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (Sony/BMG)

Idaho native Josh Ritter's fifth LP illustrates how well an artist can incorporate his influences while developing his own voice and sound, which in this incarnation is part Dylan, part sensitive swinger with a soft spot for Calamity Jane and Joan of Arc ("To the Dogs or Whoever"). Where "Mind's Eye" smokes and smolders seductively, honoring Ritter's inner horn dog, "Right Moves" weds Seventies FM radio with the pastoral romanticism of Hello Starling in 2003. Conquests is far more rock-oriented than 2006's lush The Animal Years, yet its being recorded in an 18th century Maine farmhouse tethers it aesthetically to Nebraska-era Springsteen. "The Temptation of Adam" upholds folk's narrative tradition accompanied by gentle fingerpicking, evoking nostalgia fused with heartbroken wistfulness for a future past, which provides beautiful ballast for Conquest's boom-clash moments. (Josh Ritter rocks up the Parish, Monday, Oct. 29.)

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