Bright’s Passage

Josh Ritter has a book coming out June 28, called “Bright’s Passage.” The first chapter is available for free download on his website, I read it, and it reads very much like a less poetic version of a Josh Ritter song–religious imagery, war, tragedy and an angel. I’m curious to read more…. I’ll keep you posted once it’s out.

I was actually thinking about Josh Ritter all morning, which led me to his website, which led to the realization that he’s gone author. I watched “True Grit” last night, and–note to Coen bros–I was thinking how great it would have been if Josh Ritter was set loose on the soundtrack. A tragic Western, the movie is so totally up his alley.

One of the things I’ve always loved about him is the way he can cross so many eras and cultures with the twist of a phrase, the spin of a chord, and just keep drawing you in further.

I’m pasting some of his Western-ish and just old timey lyrics below, because I’ve enjoyed them rattling around my head all day. Now they can rattle around yours.

From “Good Man”

They shot a Western south of here
They had him cornered in a canyon
And even his horse had disappeared
They said it got run down by a bad bad man
You’re not a good shot but I’m worse
And there’s so much where we ain’t been yet
So swing up on this little horse
The only thing we’ll hit is sunset.

From “Lillian, Egypt”

He made her the star of the silent movies But all she did was mouth the words all she did was mouth the words, ³Oh no!² And he cast me as the villain as the sheriff¹s worst enemy I practiced falling off of buildings and out windows

The last time I saw she was tied to the train tracks I was back there with the extras riding on a tiger roan The villain on the left with the studio mustache Winking at Lillian blowing kisses from the second row.

From “Next to the Last True Romantics:

He’s stolen hearts like they’re horses
And horses when hearts can’t be found
He keeps riding from one horse to one horse to one horse towns (It gets him down)

He know’s he’s a fool to get caught up with you
But he’s the next to the last true romantic
He can’t let go of love once he’s had it
And he can’t rest
Til he’s next to you

There’s always whiskey and women and women and whiskey around
He can’t tell which is worse to be dying of thirst or to drown (It gets him down)


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