Joy To You Baby- New Josh Ritter Single
Two days ago, Josh Ritter released the first single off his forthcoming album, The Beast in its Tracks. The single, out on Soundcloud, is called “Joy to You Baby”, and was written in the wake of the dissolution of Ritter’s marriage.
Ritter is one of my all-time, Top 5 favorite songwriters. So much so, that one of my tattoos is based on a lyric of his. He has this power to distill the bluest of aches into one image, or one line. His last album, So Runs the World Away, was full of epic folk tales, sweeping grandeur, and worlds that existed far away from this one that we all share. It showcased Ritter’s proclivity for storytelling, and his ability to spin Wurlitzer into magic, and carry us all away.
This one is different. It’s not a narrative, there’s no swirling ingenue falling in love with a cursed mummy, or a lone cowboy riding across plains to his love. No bunker in a post-apocalyptic world where two unlikely souls fall in love.
Instead there is a gentle heartbeat of a rhythm, and raw, sinewy strums blunted with Ritter’s voice, quiet like he’s singing so as to not wake someone who used to sleep right next to him. Shhh-ing cymbals and drum hits feel like a lonely walk down a snowy street, long after you left the party that you didn’t want to go to in the first place. And as the song walks alone, Ritter tells the ghost next to him to find joy, wherever she is tonight. But it sounds like he’s giving us all permission to exist in that middle place, in between peace and total heartbreak. From this, it sounds like that’s where joy lives- in between the myths and reality, wedged in the middle of despair and fantasy. In the city, wherever you are tonight.
Joy to the many
Joy to the few
And joy to you baby
Joy to me, too
The clear 7″ vinyl can be purchased now, or in your local record stores on December 18th. The LP is due out March 5, 2013.