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The Beast In Its Tracks

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iTunes Review

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

A New Side of Josh Ritter

This album seems much more introspective than Ritter's past work, which is largely narrative storytelling with imaginative characters. This album seems to be more like he's spent some hard time and done some hard traveling internally through a pretty bad breakup. Musically, Ritter, to me, is an incredible songwriter and this album is another excellent example of his effortless appeal. Great melodies, swirly atmospheres and each word means something. In short, this is another amazing album from Josh Ritter, I recommend it to anyone that loves music and heartfelt songwriting.


Josh Ritter is an incredible musician, but this album is a major disappointment and a testament to the fact that loves makes fools of all of us... If he was going to delve into personal territory, I wanted to be taken on a journey. Each song hit the same nerve over and over, and at the end I just felt uncomfortable (and not the good kind of uncomfortable). The wistful undertones felt pointless and in opposition to the themes of forgiveness and renewal that he wants us all to buy into. I simply wasn't convinced.

You wont be disappointed

You love the sound of classic Josh ritter, than you will love this album!


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