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The Beast In Its Tracks

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Editors’ Notes

Years of positive reviews and the respect of his fellow musicians have lifted Josh Ritter near the top of the pile of American male singer/songwriters. His marriage to fellow respected singer/songwriter Dawn Landes in 2009 was supposed to be the cherry on top. But in less than two years the marriage fell apart, and this is the subject of Ritter's sixth studio album. The title of The Beast in Its Tracks, of course, bears a striking resemblance to Bob Dylan's alleged "divorce album," Blood on the Tracks. Ritter's similarity to The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle—in vocal, lyrical, and musical approach—on the album's first single, "Joy to You Baby," is outright weird, as if Ritter has somehow taken on another singer/songwriter's persona. But it's just one diversion on an album filled with changing vibes and personalities, all recorded in a heady rush at the Great North Sound Society in Parsonsfield, Maine, with longtime producer/keyboardist Sam Kassirer. Among the highlights are a John Lennon–style echo for "Hopeful," a direct to lo-fi boombox demo for "Third Arm," and a tight small-band jam for the anger of "New Lover." 

Customer Reviews

Cant Wait!!!!

Just listened to the single "Joy to You Baby". Absolutely amazing. One of his best songs yet.

This is the Josh Ritter I Love

Anyone who loves "The Animal Years" will love this album; it has that same vibe of amazing lyrics with perfect music supporting it. I own the other albums but I feel The Beast In Its Tracks reminds me of the old school Josh Ritter. My all-time favorite song of Josh Ritter is "Idaho"; "The Appleblossom Rag" has that same feel of sitting in a kitchen just listening to Josh talk about life. But the songs are not just moody and depressing. "In Your Arms Awhile" has a great hook that will get you singing it everywhere. And of course, "New Lover" is just perfect and I can see many people adopting it as their breakup anthem.

The entire album takes you through an odyssey from sadness to extreme joy. After listening to the entire album, I wanted to contact his partner Haley just to tell her "Thank You" as this album puts you in his shoes and you understand the joy he has now. It is an amazing journey and I am thankful Josh Ritter took us with him.

The whole album is beautiful

but as someone mentioned, Hopeful will be the big song. It is so sad and beautiful.


Born: 1976 in Moscow, Idaho

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

An American singer/songwriter with a strong voice, a keen wit, and an evocative way with words, Josh Ritter has built a loyal following as one of the leading lights on the contemporary folk scene. Born in Idaho, Ritter bought his first guitar after hearing the Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash classic "The Girl from the North Country." While attending college in Oberlin, Ohio, Ritter got his first taste of the music of Leonard Cohen and Gillian Welch; he instantly fell in love with their songs and dropped...
Full Bio