Tag Archives: Girl in the War

Josh Ritter: Thin Blue Flame

I’m a huge fan of Josh Ritter and have been listening to him all week long.  I’ve had three of his albums for a few years on my iPod and just recently bought two of his albums (Hello Starling and The Golden Age of Radio) on CD.  The cool thing about the CD’s ,for a music geek like me, is that it came with the studio version and then an acoustic version of the album with a few additional live tracks.  So, basically two for the price of one and it made my music pants go crazy. 

His writing is amazing and I am in awe of his ability to convey thoughts and expressions that start with the writing of lyrics and are passionately delivered through his compelling and, at times, haunting voice.

A few months ago I did a post on Josh Ritter and extolled his greatness and through repeated listening this week, I stand by that bold claim.  However, I do have to update his top five songs.

February Post:

Josh Ritter’s Top 5 Songs:

  1. Here at the Right Time (The Animal Years)
  2. Wildfires (Released on bonus EP)
  3. Wings (Hello Starling)
  4. Girl in the War (The Animal Years)
  5. Me & Jiggs (The Golden Age of Radio)

Revised:

Josh Ritter’s Top 5 Songs:

  1. Thin Blue Flame (The Animal Years)
  2. The Golden Age of Radio (The Golden Age of Radio)
  3. Here at the Right Time (The Animal Years)
  4. Wings (Hello Starling)
  5. Wildfires (Released on bonus EP)

I’ve mentioned that I typically am drawn to the lyrical nature of a song and in the case of Josh Ritter, it is almost obsessive.  He has been in constant rotation in the truck and office this week.  One song, in particular, has stood out that I think is lyrically brilliant and makes me realize that it is a good thing that I have a day job and my writing gig is for grins and giggles.

Here, I give to you, the greatness of Josh Ritter:

Thin Blue Flame

Josh Ritter

I became a thin blue flame
Polished on a mountain range
And over hills and fields I flew
Wrapped up in a royal blue

I flew over Royal City last night
A bullfighter on the horns of a new moons light
Caesar’s ghost I saw the war-time tides
The prince of Denmark’s father still and quiet
And the whole world was looking to get drowned
Trees were a fist shaking themselves at the clouds
I looked over curtains and it was then that I knew
Only a full house gonna make it through

I became a thin blue wire
That held the world above the fire
And so it was I saw behind
Heaven’s just a thin blue line

If God’s up there he’s in a cold dark room
The heavenly host are just the cold dark moons
He bent down and made the world in seven days
And ever since he’s been walking away
Mixing with nitrogen in lonely holes
Where neither seraphim or raindrops go
I see an old man wandering the halls alone
But only a full house gonna make a home

I became a thin blue stream
The smoke between asleep and dreams
And in that clear blue undertow
I saw Royal City far below

Borders soft with refugees
Streets swimming with amputees
It’s a Bible or a bullet they put over your heart
It’s getting harder and harder to tell them apart
Days are nights and the nights are long
Beating hearts blossom into walking bombs

And those still looking in the clear blue sky for a sign
Get missiles from so high they might as well be divine
Now the dogs are howling at your door
Singing bout vengeance like it’s the joy of the Lord
Bringing justice to the enemies not the other way round
They’re guilty when killed and they’re killed where they’re found
If what’s loosed on earth will be loosed up on high
It’s a Hell of a Heaven we must go to when we die
Where even Laurel begs Hardy for vengeance please
The fat man is crying on his hands and his knees
Back in the peacetime he caught roses on the stage
Now he twists indecision takes bourbon for rage

Lead pellets peppering aluminum
Halcyon, laudanum and Opium
Sings kiss thee hardy this poisoned cup
His winding sheet is busy winding up
In darkness he looks for the light that has died
We need faith for the same reasons that it’s so hard to find
And this whole thing is headed for a terrible wreck
And like a tragedy it’s what we expect

At night I make plans for a city laid down
Like the hips of a girl on the spring covered ground
Spirals and capitals like the twist of a script
Streets named for heroes that could almost exist
The fruit trees of Eden and the gardens that seem
To float like the smoke from a lithium dream
Cedar trees growing in the cool of the squares
The young women walking in the portals of prayer

And the future glass buildings and the past an address
And the weddings in pollen and the wine bottomless
And all wrongs forgotten and all vengeance made right
The suffering verbs put to sleep in the night
The future descending like a bright chandelier
And the world just beginning and the guests in good cheer
In Royal City I fell into a trance
Oh it’s hell to believe there ain’t a hell of a chance

I woke beneath a clear blue sky
The sun a shout the breeze a sigh
My old hometown and the streets I knew
Were wrapped up in a royal blue

I heard my friends laughing out across the fields
The girls in the gloaming and the birds on the wheel
The raw smell of horses and the warm smell of hay
Cicadas electric in the heat of the day

A run of Three Sisters and the flush of the land
And the lake was a diamond in the valley’s hand
The straight of the highway and the scattered out hearts
They were coming together they pulling apart
And angels everywhere were in my midst
In the ones that I loved in the ones that I kissed
I wondered what it was I’d been looking for up above
Heaven is so big there ain’t no need to look up
So I stopped looking for royal cities in the air
Only a full house gonna have a prayer
Only a full house

 Great music awaits!


25 Albums (since 2000) you should own

Greetings music lovers,

 Today’s blog is a monthly continuation of 25 albums you should own and has the following parameters:

  • Album must have been recorded/released in or after to 2000
  • No duplication of artist
  • No live albums or greatest hits (kind of an all encompassing copout to include either)
  • Listing of my favorite track from said album (This is not so much a parameter but a mere bonus for your reading pleasure)

 Twenty Five albums you should own! (In no particular order):

Artist Album Song
State Radio Us Against The Crown Camilo
Amos Lee Last Days At the Lodge What’s Been Going On
Brett Dennen So Much More Ain’t No Reason
The Black Crowes Before the Frost Appaloosa
Bob Dylan Modern Times Thunder on the Mountain
Beck The Information Strange Apparition
Ben Harper & The Relentless 7 White Lies for Dark Times Faithfully Remain
Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago Flume
Corrine Bailey Rae Corrine Bailey Rae Seasons Change
Eddie Vedder Into the Wild Society
Erin Ivey The 11th Floor Chocolate
Foo Fighters In Your Honor Another Round
The Hold Steady Stay Positive Lord, I’m Discouraged
James McMurtry Childish Things We Can’t Make It Here
Josh Ritter The Animal Years Girl In the War
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Show Your Bones Warrior
Zac Brown Band The Foundation Highway 20 Ride
William Fitzsimmons Until When We Are Ghosts Passion Play
Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance
TV On the Radio Dear Science Halfway Home
Tom Petty Highway Companion Square One
Spoon Transference Nobody Gets Me But You
Slaid Cleaves Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away Beautiful Thing
Serj Tankian Elect the Dead Money
Rilo Kiley Under the Blacklight Silver Lining
Ray LaMontagne Trouble Jolene

 So, there you have it, another list of musical bliss.  Take your time, check them out and let me know what you think.

 Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Josh Ritter!

Josh Ritter is the Idaho born and raised singer/songwriter who is critically praised and commercially hidden from the masses with the exception of Ireland, where he is a star.  His sparse but well crafted songs have drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen which is the equivalent of the holy trilogy in music.

Josh self recorded and released his self titled debut album, which caught the attention of Glen Hasard (The Frames, The Swell Season).  This fortuitous meeting was the catalyst for Ritter’s voyage to Ireland and the genesis of his fervent following of Irish lads and lasses.  Due to his popularity and his ability to hawk his wares (CD’s and merchandise) he was able to quit his day job and devote himself full time to his musical passion.

His follow up, The Golden Age of Radio was recorded and self produced and released in 2000.  He then signed with Signature Sounds and they released the album nationally.  This began the exaltation of critics and the indifference of consumers.  Hello Starling was released in 2003 and Joan Baez covered “Wings” from the album on her release Dark Chords on a Big Guitar.

Josh Ritter Discography:

  • Josh Ritter
  • The Golden Age of Radio
  • Hello Starling
  • The Animal Years
  • In the Dark-Live at Vicar Street
  • The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

Josh Ritter’s Top 5 Songs:

  1. Here at the Right Time (The Animal Years)
  2. Wildfires (Released on bonus EP)
  3. Wings (Hello Starling)
  4. Girl in the War (The Animal Years)
  5. Me & Jiggs (The Golden Age of Radio)

Ritter did nothing to lose his critic’s darling status with the release of The Animal Years and 2007’s The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter.  Over the years, he has built a solid fan base, opened for Bob Dylan, and has had a tribute band in Ireland dedicated to his work. 

Ritter’s latest album, So Runs the World Away will be released in Ireland in April 2010 and the worldwide release will be in May of 2010.

Check out Josh Ritter at www.joshritter.com.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rcUsFatXw4&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yrNLLw92F0&feature=related

Great music awaits!