Josh Ritter is known for the contagious exuberance that permeates his live shows. A full house of Asheville fans were treated to a stellar and upbeat performance.
Coming out solo to open with “Idaho” from Animal Years, Ritter’s Royal City Band eased in slowly halfway through “Southern Pacifica” from So Runs the World Away. The rest of the set was full of his newest numbers, including “A Certain Light,” “Hopeful,” “Joy to You Baby,” “Evil Eye” and “New Lover.” The overall vibe was a little more rock ‘n’ roll than folksy Americana
The combination of Ritter’s thoughtful and intelligent lyrics and some seriously jamming tunes made for an exciting and compelling show. As always, there was running commentary from this modern-day bard; Ritter transitions back and forth between singing his stories and telling them. Harkening back to The Historical Conquests, Ritter performed “Rumors” and “Right Moves” along with perennial crowd-favorite “Kathleen” from Hello Starling, which was sung with enthusiasm by the entire room.
Ritter’s still flashing that million-dollar smile, and there appears to be nothing but smooth sailing and the promise of continued professional success ahead for this beloved artist.
– Beth Baldino