(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Critically acclaimed folk-rock singer-songwriter Josh Ritter brings his “Trying Out Some New Songs and Such” solo tour, an intimate, acoustic set emphasizing a new body of songs yet to be recorded, to the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA on Saturday, November 22, at 8pm.
The Moscow, Idaho-native has a literary disposition and an affinity for the old-guard likes of Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul Simon that led the New York Times to place him “among the cream of the young singer-songwriter crop.”
Ritter’s songs are playfully erudite, equally dense with clever metaphor and whimsical turns of phrase. “About six months ago I was hit by a song on the New York Thruway,” Ritter recently wrote. “The whole thing. Verses, bridge, a witty one-liner or two. Nothing like that had ever happened with such force. It was the first raindrop in a thunderstorm that I’m thankful continues unabated. I don’t normally go in for showing songs before they’re fully done, but what the hell, you only live once.”
Ritter recorded and released his first album, self-titled, in 1999, although 2002’s “Golden Age of Radio” propelled him into the spotlight, allowing him to devote himself full-time to his music. “Hello Starling,” recorded over the course of 14 days in rural France, was released in September of 2003. “The Animal Years,” his much anticipated follow-up, arrived in March 2006, followed by “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter” in 2007, “So Runs the World Away” in 2010, and “The Beast in Its Tracks” in 2013.
Ritter’s work has received widespread acclaim from fellow artists and critics alike: Joan Baez covered his track “Wings” on her 2003 album “Dark Chords on a Big Guitar,” Stephen King called “The Animal Years” the overall best album of 2006 in his column for Entertainment Weekly, David Letterman has requested Ritter twice, and Bob Boilen of NPR’s All Songs Considered placed “So Runs the World Away” among his top albums of 2010. Ritter even secured a spot on Paste Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Living Songwriters.
Though he comes to MASS MoCA to play never-before-heard material, Ritter’s past efforts guarantee his forthcoming album will boast a fresh iteration of his trademark vibrancy and infectiousness that acts as the common thread throughout his discography. In a June 2014 interview with Paste Magazine, Ritter assured the public that his upcoming album – whatever it is – will be yet another installment in his long line of critical darlings and musical innovations: “I really want to make something great,” he stated, “and I’m having the best time of my life doing it, too.”
Fresh salads, hearty sandwiches, and beefy burgers – as well as thematic dinner specials – are available from Lickety Split before and during the show. A full bar serves Berkshire Brewing Company beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits. Tickets are $29 in advance and $35 day of. Members receive a 10% discount. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am – 5pm Wednesdays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through spring 2015. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during box office hours or purchased on-line at MASS MoCA.