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The Beast In Its Tracks

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (4 Mar. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Yep Roc
  • ASIN: B00AWMKX9E
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,731 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

'The Beast in Its Tracks' is Ritter's first studio album in almost three years. The Beast in Its Tracks may well be remembered as Ritter's divorce record, as it was written and recorded in the wake of his 18-month marriage suddenly dissolving.
As Ritter says, 'In the year after my marriage ended, I realized that I had more new songs than I'd ever had at one time. Far from the grand, sweeping feel of the songs on So Runs the World Away, these new songs felt like rocks in the shoe, hard little nuggets of whatever they were, be it spite, remorse, or happiness. I hadn't composed this stuff, I'd scrawled it down, just trying to keep ahead of the heartbreak. They needed to be recorded like that. We needed to work fast, make decisions quickly, keep the songs as spare as they could be kept, and above all never allow ourselves to blunt the sharp edges.'

Review

'There are a lot of sensitive singer-songwriters around but now on his seventh album, Josh Ritter is staking his claim to at the top of the class. 5*****' --The Telegraph

'While Ritter's songs have long excelled in storytelling, with this deeply personal material his work acquires a vital new significance' 4/5 --Evening Herald (Scotland)

'Album Of The Week' --RTE Radio 1

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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It takes some guts to pour out your heart in such a public way, but this is exactly what Mrs Ritter's young man does. The fallout from his 18 month marriage to Dawn Landes is painfully articulated in this album and you can feel the catharsis Josh receives from doing just that.

"A new lover" was first heard along with a couple of other tracks last year in the Ulster museum, Belfast when Josh did Q&A for his first novel. He made no bones about the meaning of that particular song and seemed pleased his audience were able to 'join the dots'.

I have followed this unassuming and thoughtful man's music from the start and have met him on three separate occasions. He has always been happy to chat and explain the song writing process. That night was no different. However there was new spring in his step and judging from my first full listen to this album, I now believe I understand why.

Without giving a track by track synopsis I will state that the quality of musicianship delivered throughout, sounds like a man who has finally dumped his bad baggage and with the realisation of hindsight, is in a better place now. His new daughter's, Beatrix's, birth and the finding of new love, with author Haley Tanner, are plain to hear.

Update** I had to comment on these individual songs though.

'Nightmare'- I will say that listening to a jaunty little tune like 'Nightmares' shows how much hurt he had inside him, but has it cleverly disguised as a upbeat and humourous turn of words. Quite shocking when you realise he refers to infidedlity and its discovery!! WOW, sharp stuff.

'Evil Eye'- A song that shows his frustration at feeling so miserable. Almost like a curse had been laid upon him and the hope that it is recipricated on his ex lover.
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A truly beautiful album from Josh Ritter. Gentle, unassuming tunes that tell the tale of a heart wrenched out, pummelled, but ultimately sewn up again. Hope and new life and love then spring forth. Gently picked and strummed guitar and Josh's vocal remain the focal point, with Hammond organ and percussion flitting in and out, at times. However, what sets him apart from many of his contempories, is the craft of his poetry. Josh wears his heart on his sleeve - the pain, nightmares and hurt are etched deep in the his words - this is `Blood on the tracks' - but there is also optimism, healing, new joy and one should hope, a sealing of wounds, from of a couple of years of great change in his personal life.

Much fuss is made of the so called `new Dylan's' that constantly get pole vaulted to new heights from obscurity. Few live up to the hype. Josh though, in my opinion, justifies a place in the pantheon of great songwriters (and poets), such as Dylan and Cohen. Although his catalogue is somewhat shorter, he continues to make albums oozing quality, time after time. There is so much beauty in this album, it leaves you with a warm feeling inside.
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This has been described as a 'break up album', and yet listening to it, there is also the feeling of optimism and hope especially towards the end. For those of you familiar with Josh Ritter's previous work this is more reminiscent of Animal years or Hello Starling, less of the big story telling numbers, just deceptively simple songs. There is an interesting juxtaposition between the melodies and the poetic lyrics (which are bleaker than you may expect from the melody). The two stand out tracks are 'Joy to you Baby', & 'New Lover' - give them a listen.
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By Andy Sweeney TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Dec. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed and admired the talented Josh Ritter's work for the best part of the last decade, with the pinnacle of his career, for me, previously being the remarkable folk-driven "Hello Starling" and the more eclectic "The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter", both fantastic in their own, individual ways. With this, his "divorce" album, he has written and released an album that is just as great as those two albums, but for, again, an entirely different reason. This is the often brutally honest sound of a man who has lost somebody he obviously loved a great deal and, although the music sometimes comes across as being pretty, light and breezy, it barely disguises a great hurt. There are confessions, some almost spiteful barbs and the sound of Ritter attempting to be a good, gracious, magnanimous human being. Like many people left on their own and still holding a torch for somebody, sometimes he manages it, sometimes he doesn't. It's like Bob Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks" has been re-imagined to a soundtrack of Simon & Garfunkel. Unfortunately, I can relate to this album, all of it. I've been there, bought the T-shirt and, well, now it appears that I've bought the album. I can't think of a collection of songs that describes the complex feelings, the aftermath and the attempts to forge new relationships after a break-up better than this one; it is absolutely superb.

This is an album full of remarkable songs.
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