June 13, 2008

Fanning the Flames

Josh Ritter, in my opinion, has the best and most creative fan base. That being said, he also deserves it, because he works so hard to reach those fans. Anyone who has been to a Josh show knows that he will spend hours after each concert connecting with his fans -- and not in the superficial ways others do. Some musicians will sign things for fans if they buy something from their merch table. Not Josh, he will talk to and with each and every fan who wants to chat, he will sign anything and everything... and he will remember you the next time you come to a show. He is downright the nicest, most generous performer out there today.
OK, now to those fans. Josh's message board is filled with some great stuff. The usual stuff -- talk of Josh's shows, setlists, ticket requests, etc., but also some very creative and humorous discussion. This one caught my eye today. I just love it... It's titled "Mourning musical loss," so I'm thinking a death, maybe about Bo Diddley, who died recently. Here's the note...

3 of my josh cd's flew out my window this afternoon!
i was driving down the road today with my windows down (BEAUTIFUL day in north carolina!)...and i have one of those cd holder/visor things? i had 4 of my josh cd's in the far pocket, which, i don't think you're supposed to do because it gets all stretched out, etc etc.
yeah, well, i took a quick turn to the right, and THEY FLEW OUT MY WINDOW. 'josh ritter' fell into my lap (whew!), but 'live at vicar street', 'hello starling' and 'golden age of radio' did not fair so well. i would take a picture of what they look like and post it...but its pretty gruesome. i'm seriously heartbroken, hah.
(and if you were wondering - yes, i DID park my car, and dodge speeding cars in order to retrieve the cd's from the road...i'm pretty sure 'hello starling' was run over at least once...)

**psst! hey josh! if you read this board - i'm the girl that sent you the letter saying that i spent my grocery money for the week on your cd's! haha...this is what i get for putting awesome music before food, i suppose!**

luckily i ripped all my cd's to my mp3 player prior to all this, so i can still listen...but i can't decide if i want to re-buy all the cd's. my birthday IS on sunday if anyone would like to send me a few presents? hahaha.
anyway! thanks for reading, y'all!

My second case for Josh having great fans comes from the blog Yellowhammering Afghanistan written by a guy named Mike Tomberlin. He's a reporter for the Birmingham News and a Major in the Alabama National Guard who was shipped to Afghanistan. He blogged while he was there and continued when he got home. I found his blog while searching for Josh Ritter news. He took some beautiful images of the people of Afghanistan and his mission, which he decided to put to the music of Josh's "Thin Blue Flame." Click HERE to see the slideshow.

And here is a spot-on analysis of the song from someone who has been there...

"Unlike most singer-songwriters who tackle war and the state of the world, Ritter's song is not so predictable. Although it is intense, it never comes across as venomous or antagonistic.
It is the best song I have ever heard about the global war on terror - pointing out the positive and negative attributes (depending on your perspective). Like all good songwriters, Ritter uses enough ambiguity to help the listeners interpret a meaning for themselves. The apocalyptic imagery throughout most of the song gives you an idea of how Ritter feels about things."

His blog continues...

"But I believe that Ritter is thinking about the soldiers and their families when he considers "only a full house." There are homes that spend more than a year less than full as mothers and fathers, sons and daughters are sent into harm's way. There are homes that will never be full again as many make the ultimate sacrifice.
I know in my own household, this deployment has helped to make our home "full." We have an appreciation for each other and all of the blessings we have because of this experience. If I could bottle that and give it to everyone, I would.
So while I'm sure Josh Ritter and I would not see eye-to-eye politically, I thank him immensely for this song and for the role it played in my own self-realization this past year."

To read the entire text click HERE.

And thank you, Major Tomberlin, for your great service to our country and your great words.


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