Fever Breaks is the latest album from the richly atmospheric folk and blues artist Josh Ritter, a powerhouse of music that gives a remarkably understated sound a larger than life presence and a very real sense of energy and tension.
This marks the twentieth year of Ritter being in the music industry having brought his first album out back in 1999 and there is something poetic to his bringing out an album this year that goes beyond the mere poetic prose that he crafts into his songs. Ritter might seem as though he surrounds himself with an almost minimalistic collection of tunes but that’s far from true, his talent lays in how he carefully constructs his songs so that they seem to breathe on their own and expand and grow around you. With powerful songs like The Torch Committee he takes the core of his music, a deftly plucked set of guitar strings, and allows everything else to stretch out around it. This simple act makes for some of the most beguiling tunes as your focus expands while you listen you find yourself noticing something new time and again.
Over the years Ritter has settled into a niche that he’s carved that hides somewhere in the blurred lines between folk, blues and country and has concentrated on creating a rich collection of guitar driven melodies that he allows to be complemented by the music that swells behind it. This almost undulating atmosphere is matched by his raw and emotive vocals that seem to creak to life at time; a aural embodiment of the nature of blues, Ritter pours himself into his work and each song has a tenderness at its core that contains a wealth of emotions, fears, joys and more. It’s an endearing aspect that makes his work feel as intimate as if he was performing in your very own living room. This heartening element makes Fever Breaks an impressive and versatile album that carries you with it through the twists and turns that Ritter has devised.
Josh Ritter has been known by thousands of fans over the years and he’s a man with an unrivalled passion that was born from hearing Bob Dylan many years ago but with Fever Breaks there seems to be a softer and more heartened element to his work now. Even for those who aren’t necessarily a fan of country or blues for some reason, this amalgamation that Ritter has created is a charmed and invigorating act for every audience.
Pre-order Fever Breaks here: https://ffm.to/feverbreaks
Review by Joe Knipe