CD So Runs the World Away [Digipak] (CD 6461020),
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So Runs the World Away [Digipak]
2. Change of Time
3. Curse, The
4. Southern Pacifica
5. Rattling Locks
6. Folk Bloodbath
9. Remnant, The
10. See How Man Was Made
11. Another New World
13. Long Shadows
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 001
Sam Kassirer; Austin Nevins; Brandon Eggleston; Jim Smith; Dan Cardinal
Audio Mixer: Brandon Eggleston.
Recording information: Austin's Studio, Somerville, MA (08/2008-10/2009); Saltlands Studio, Brooklyn, MA (08/2008-10/2009); The Great North Sound Society, Parsonsfield, ME (08/2008-10/2009).
Photographer: Sam Kassirer.
So Runs the World Away, the fifth studio album from bookish, Idaho-born troubadour Josh Ritter, unfolds like a Flannery O'Connor, Jim Jarmusch, and Mark Twain road trip. Equally steeped in Southern and Midwest Gothic Americana, the son of a pair of neuroscientists has crafted his most unique collection of songs to date, borrowing characters from mythology, literature, and world history and letting them run wild in the increasingly adventurous, neo-traditional folk style that his become his forte over the last decade. The elegiac, slow-burn opener "Change of Time" sets the stage, lamenting "battered hulls and broken hardships/leviathan and lonely" before visiting a 1000-year-old Egyptian pharaoh on the deck of a steamship on his way to New York in "Curses." The voyage continues by train on "Southern Pacifica," descends into bluesy, Tom Waits-ian solipsism on "Rattling Locks," and culminates in So Runs the World Away's brilliant mid-album centerpiece, "Folk Bloodbath," which pits some of the murder ballad's biggest names (Louis Collins, Delia, and Stagger Lee) against each other with predictable results. Standout cuts in the second half include the verdant, bouncy "Lark," the stoic, John Jacob Niles-inspired "See How Man Was Made," and the spirited, quasi-spiritual/science rocker "Orbital," resulting in a typically fine batch of new folk standards and a high-water mark for an artist already used to paddling around on oceans too deep and vast for modern cartography. ~ James Christopher Monger
Rolling Stone (p.82) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "'Folk Bloodbath' mixes Mississippi John Hurt, Johnny Cash and the legend of Stackalee..."
Spin - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Ritter's wordplay can be dense, but his warm, inviting voice makes it a pleasure to unravel."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.92) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Ritter's most freewheeling album....The one-time would-be neuro-scientist indulges all his fascination with science both arcane and fabulous..."
Paste (magazine) (p.86) - "Josh Ritter hits a beautiful stride on his sixth album, a soulful combination of conversational folk ballads and powerful gut punches."
Uncut (magazine) (p.100) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Ritter's nimble sense of cadence and mood ensure an experience way more pleasurable than a record about orbital transits and lunar canals has any right to be."
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