Hello Starling Import
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Top Customer Reviews
For this album, Dave Odlum from the Frames was enlisted as producer and the album was recorded over a fortnight in February 2002 in a converted dairy barn near Angers in France (also used by Dave Odlum for an EP with Gemma Hayes in 2001), and with Josh's touring band, augmented by Dave Odlum helping out on guitar and mandolin.
As a teenager, Josh Ritter had been inspired by discovering Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash playing together on the Nashville Skyline album, and has also acknowledged Townes Van Zandt, Leonard Cohen and Gillian Welch among his influences (there is a nod to Townes Van Zandt on this album's Kathleen, also the title of one of his songs). He studied American History through narrative music at college, spending six months in Scotland at the School of Scottish Folk Studies, and also made a study of American religious music, American Civil War songs and late 19th century popular ballads, parlour songs and cowboy songs.
Although he has found his own voice and a clear natural style, it is clear from his stripped back approach and the meticulously recorded instruments that he has learned well and deeply from all these guiding legacies and adaptations. This album has been built to last and left one keenly anticipating the next.
Unlike David Gray, his voice is less annoying and has a slight gravelly feel to it. No new ground has been broken on this record, but as to its sound, think Damien Rice mixed with Nick Drake. Some of the tracks are sparse in places and it works with Ritter's narrative style - the excellent 'Bone of Song' is very Drake without trying to be him. The album is nicely produced and has just the right amount of instrumentation to suit Josh's voice - a little lap steel, some organ and the all important fingerpicked acoustic guitar. If you like Ryan Adams, Damien Rice and Nick Drake then this will be a welcome addition to your music collection.
Having to date only seen Josh solo I was pleased to hear how well a full band compliments his songs....and you can almost hear him grinning his head off as he sings :)
A brilliant album of strong folk songs - keep it up josh!!
There are no bad or even average tracks on this album - it is a remarkable, incredible listen from beginning to end and he is a songwriter and performer of immense talent. You could dip into this album randomly and buy it on the strength of any one of these tracks, be it the gentle, beguiling 'California' or 'Bone Of Song' to the uplifting 'Snow Is Gone' - it's all extremely good. I still find it incredible that an artist of Josh's calibre is relatively unknown in the UK, especially given the strength and appeal of pretty much all of his work. Having done so myself, I'd say that 'Hello Starling' is a great place to start a Josh Ritter collection and if you love this album a fraction of the amount I do then I am confident that it won't be your last Josh Ritter purchase. Truly brilliant and highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"The Beast In Its Tracks" is Idaho born, Alt/Folk, Josh Ritter's seventh full length release. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Eamonn MacNeill
Josh really got his game with the release of this album.
Hello Starling was his last mostly acoustic album and the themes seem to revolve around lost loves, mystical jaw... Read more
For me there are two types of Americana style artists in this genre,one is the Bruce Springsteen,Ryan Adams,
full of cliches time and again. Read more
Love the poetry, and the music. Keeps me working late into the night. Bone of Song is the best on the album. Intimate.Published on 25 Feb. 2010 by J. morris
This is ok if you like your music on the easy listening side of folk. Wings is a great song-even if i don't know what its about-very Cohen influenced here and on a few others-at... Read morePublished on 17 Sept. 2009 by Gizmophobic