I mentioned that this album is not country. Nor is it marketed as country. In fact, Ritter is an artist who it is difficult to classify into any particular genre. Folk/Traditionalist or Folk Rock may be the most apt description if you truly search for a genre label, but he’s one who you can really only classify as “Singer/Songwriter.” Because of this, it’s easy to hear some country influences in Ritter’s music (listen to “Cumberland” off of this new collection). It’s easy to hear a lot of influences while he remains firmly an original and unique artist, a one-of-a-kind wordsmith, musician, and vocalist. Back in February, I reviewed Ritter’s 2006 album The Animal Years as a non-country recommendation.
Some of Ritter’s songs are very abstract. It’s difficult to simply narrow down what some of the songs are “about.” In many songs, different listeners will take away different things from the lyrics. Other songs, songs like “Henrietta, Indiana” (a song about a desperate life in a poor factory town where the economy is faltering and people turn to crime) are a bit easier to interpret and pack a powerful punch.
“Getting Ready to Get Down,” which was the lead single from the album, sings about a girl being “sent off to a little Bible College in Missouri” when her parents and the local pastor get worried about her behavior, where instead she discovers different pleasures and comes home defying the conventions of her religiously conservative hometown.
Another standout track on the album is “Where the Night Goes,” a song about two old flames meeting up and reminiscing, proclaiming “let’s see where the night takes us, let’s see where the night goes.” This was another song Ritter previewed several months before the album’s release (or even official announcement). With amazing lyrics like "Only the lonely know the way I’m feelin’ / Only the living go to the graveyard grieving / Still we’re alive and you’re astounding / Feel the pulse of the world pounding," this song is an absolute gem.
I could spend pages and pages with a track-by-track breakdown of this album, but it’s truly an album you need to experience in full to appreciate. Ritter wrote the entire album by himself (as has been the case with almost all of his previous material). This album is the work of a master at the top of his game. It’s an album I cannot recommend highly enough.