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Released 28th April 2023
Josh Ritter has been thinking a lot about space exploration. It has nothing to do with his spellbinding new album, Spectral Lines, except that in a way, it really does. “The Voyager spacecraft went up in ’77 and now it’s out there in a place that no one’s ever been before, and it’s sending back all these messages,” Ritter says. “I feel like songs do that in their own little way. They’re probes: they go out into the world, and sometimes you hear stories back from them, but really, they go off on their own.”
Ritter, too, is sending back messages, in the form of 10 new songs that are atmospheric and impressionistic. Like the recently launched Webb Telescope, or Voyager all those years ago, he’s looking for signs of life, reaching for a sense of commonality, something that feels universal in this infinite universe. Spectral Lines, his 11th album, finds those shared experiences in songs that push beyond the bounds of Ritter’s previous work. Recorded with longtime collaborator Sam Kassirer producing, it’s an album full of wonder and light as Ritter considers the ideas of love, devotion and what it means to be connected, to each other and to ourselves. “I think it’s important for us to share some of our most basic and common experiences with each other, however we can,” he says. “That’s kind of what we really, really need right now.”
Spectral Lines is the follow-up to Ritter’s 2019 album Fever Breaks, which made a strong showing on the Billboard Americana/Folk and Independent Albums charts and drew praise from Rolling Stone, NPR and The Associated Press. Ritter began releasing albums in 1999, and started a collaboration with Bob Weir in 2015 that resulted in Weir’s 2016 album Blue Mountain. Ritter made his debut as a fiction writer in 2011 with the best-selling novel Bright’s Passage; his second book, The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All, came out in 2021
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