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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment October 21, 2018

1/16/2018 1:20:00 PM
SFF brings Josh Ritter to the stage
By Ceili Cornelius

Sisters Folk Festival will bring renowned singer-songwriter Josh Ritter to the stage on Tuesday evening, January 23, in the opener of the annual Winter Concert Series. Showtime is at 7 p.m. at the Sisters High School auditorium.

Josh Ritter is an American singer-songwriter hailing originally from Idaho. From an early age, he was a music lover and was influenced by listening to music that his parents played around the house, including Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. In high school, he realized that music was actually created by people, not just top-40 radio stations.

"After listening to Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan I found out that there is a whole other creative world out there," Ritter told The Nugget. "I heard a record one day, (Nashville Skyline) and it made me want to become a musician. I figured out how I would do that as I went along."

Ritter attended Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, to study neuroscience, but later changed his major to the self-created "American History Through Narrative Folk Music." At the age of 21 he recorded his first self-titled album on campus titled "Josh Ritter."

His most recent album, "Gathering," marks 20 years of writing and recording music.

"I wrote this album in chunks and it took about a year and a half, which is really the amount of time that it takes to write a good record," he said.

He found inspiration for the album from his surroundings. Ritter believes that it is really important to write down whatever you are feeling when the inspiration strikes.

"I felt like a bird going out into the world and experiencing special moments and finding inspiration and then bringing them back to the nest," he said

In 2011, Ritter wrote a novel titled "Bright's Passage," a story of a young widowed veteran of the First World War. When asked about the comparison of writing a novel versus writing songs, Ritter said that at first he loved the fact that there weren't as many restrictions on novel writing because there doesn't need to melody or rhyme. But there are many similarities in the disciplines.

"All the things that make a song good make a novel good, and there isn't as much freedom as you would initially think; the editing process is the same. Every word has to be right in getting across what you want to say," he said.

Ritter has always been an avid reader and getting ideas from other authors and plans to write another novel somewhere down the line.

"As a songwriter, I enjoy telling stories and this gave me the chance to paint on a different canvas," he said.

Ritter plays alongside The Royal City Band. Some of the members he's been playing with since college and some he's met along his musical path.

"I am lucky to get to play with them, all the invigorating moments on stage have been playing alongside them," he said.

He is currently touring "Gathering" and will be on the road for the next month with the band.

Tickets can be purchased for the full Winter Concert Series or for individual shows. More information may be found at

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