Ritter Unleashes Inner 'Badass' On New Album
Josh Ritter didn't have a label home when he started crafting his newest effort, "The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter," but that didn't keep him from moving forward full force.Josh Ritter didn't have a label home when he started crafting his newest effort, "The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter," but that didn't keep him from moving forward full force.
"I knew somebody was going to get it -- I just didn't know who. At the end of the day, you're on your own anyway," Ritter tells Billboard.com. "By the time I was making this record, my head was overflowing with ideas. When the glass is full, you've got to take care of it."
His former label, V2, imploded a few months after the release of his last set, "The Animal Years," but the singer/songwriter has since been picked up by BMG Music Entertainment/Victor, which will release "Historical Conquests" on Aug. 21. Produced by longtime collaborator and keyboardist Sam Kassirer in the middle of a cold winter in Maine, the album was created under new circumstances that caused a stir in Ritter.
"As I started writing, Sam and I would start playing some music and I'd start singing little melodies. He'd would run my voice through a bunch of different effects and compressors, so my own voice would come out sounding completely different on the other side," he says. "It was like hearing a new person. So I started making songs around those voices, like a new character."
The result is the closest the Idaho native has gotten to a straight-up rock'n'roll record. Where "The Animal Years" contained many of Ritter's quieter thoughts about the United States, politics and war, "Historical Conquests" is meant to be "fun," he says. "'Animal Years' in a lot of ways is about me but now this is about other characters. I started making songs with badass characters, so I'd start singing like a badass."
As for the album's title, Ritter explains, "I just wanted something that felt big and cocky but funny. It's about time!" Fans can expect to catch Ritter at only a few festival dates this summer, though he plans to headline in the U.S. from September through November.