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Josh Ritter Likes Being A "New" Artist

Of the Oakland Press

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Josh Ritter got a career bump last month when Entertainment Weekly magazine named him one of its 10 Most Exciting New Artists.

The Idaho singer-songwriter was grateful but found that an interesting distinction since he recently released his fifth album, “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter.”

“It’s kind of amazing to be a new artist again,” Ritter 30, says with a laugh. “It’s funny, but I’m psyched.

“You know, it feels like with this record, suddenly everything is swirling and active and there’s a lot of interest and ... it’s weird. But it’s great. It’s a different feeling by far than the last one or the one before.”

Ritter isn’t entirely surprised by the reception, however. He went into “The Historical Conquests ...” determined to “set it up so it could go in a good direction — a spontaneous and a little less serious direction.”

How? By composing on piano rather than his usual instrument, guitar, and by coming up with song arrangements first and writing melodies to them, rather than the other way around.

“That makes things a lot less planned,” explains Ritter, acknowledging there was a level of risk as well. “I’m really happy it turned out as good as it did. There was definitely not a net. I didn’t have a record label; I was spending my own money.

“It was funny to be working on some of these songs and realizing the lyrics were really bad ... but only when you’re singing them for the first time in a room filled with horn players who think you’re from Mars. It was quite an adventure.”

Josh Ritter and Eric Bachman perform Monday (Oct. 15)at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 day of show. Call (734) 996-8555 or visit www.blindpigmusic.com.

Web Site: www.blindpigmusic.com

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