Well, it appears The Hot Half Life has finally reached it's blog-centennial and man, what a crazy hundred posts it's been. From blogging about how a song affects me emotionally, to album reviews, to interviews, to news, this blog's been a crazy trip for me. Considering this blog's been, well, sadly vacant for the past two weeks and was sporadically updated throughout January, it's no secret that the majority of my efforts are being directed elsewhere - There's TRACER, for one, where my autumn conversation with Langhorne Slim now lives, and Boil It First, where I actively rant about various things that make me less-than-pleased. And what's a day in my life without freelancing to every place possible, keeping me so busy that I occasionally feel like I'm on the brink of a professional nervous breakdown? Nothing! Hey, so long as my nervous breakdown doesn't interfere with my Lost viewing, I'm fine.
But enough about me, let's talk about Josh Ritter.
The Hot Half Life is no stranger to Ritter, a gentleman who's folk narratives I wasn't quite fond of at first but, after seeing him live, found myself madly in love with. No one spins a tale lyrically like Ritter. In the time between warming up to Josh and now, I've turned 4 friends into Ritter superfans, made 8 "Introduction to Josh Ritter" mixes, and had the pleasure of hearing Philadelphia's Koji cover Ritter's "To The Dogs Or Whoever". I've also drunkenly spun that song at more than a few Cincy dance parties although, let's face it, Ritter's alt-country leanings aren't always dance party friendly, while slurring my way through a speech about how great Ritter and his band are. True story.
Now, Ritter returns to the scene with a new album and a new tour (Which sadly doesn't bring him Cincinnati way but does bring him to Chicago's Vic and, hey, let's face it, I'm long overdue to go visit my Illinois people so I do believe a road trip is in order). Today, Ritter put the first track from the forthcoming So Runs The World Away, "Change of Time".
"Change of Time" doesn't sound completely different from what we've heard previously from Josh Ritter, which by no means is a bad thing. The song has a sense of familiarity at the start, both musically and lyrically, that makes me feel as if the track would sound right at home on previous efforts The Animal Years or The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. Somewhere around the two and a half minute mark, however, the song progresses - Turning dreamy and searing at once and the combination proves to be unforgettable, building upon the already high anticipation for Ritter's forthcoming album and making the excitement for the record palpable. I know it's the release I'm most looking forward to of 2010, by far.
Perhaps the loveliest part of "Change of Time" comes at the very end, when all the instruments cut out to expose the beauty and simplicity in Ritter's voice. Sure, the moment only lasts for a second but that second is enough to stick with you, long after listening, and plant a seed of desperation in your head that makes you long to hear the song again.
So Runs The World Away comes out May 4th and Ritter will be hitting the Midwest for a brief stint shortly thereafter.