By Kevin Nelson
Calling someone a “Singer-Songwriter” is basically another way of saying they’re a “Folk Musician.” And calling someone a “Folk Musician” is basically another way of saying they’re an “Acoustic Performer.” So it should come as little surprise when Singer-Songwriter Josh Ritter takes to the Neptune stage on January 26 that this folk singer will be playing an acoustic set.
This will be Ritter’s second Seattle stop in support of 2013’s The Beast in its Tracks, the heartbreaking, yet surprisingly optimistic take on his failed marriage. Going on an acoustic tour is really one of the best ways Ritter can showcase the sparse dichotomy he created with Beast.
During an interview with NadaMucho, Ritter mentioned that he “loves a rock show, but at the same time, it misses the subtlety of the acoustic shows.” The perfomer is quick to say that this isn’t a forever thing, but the feeling of having just three men on stage with a couple acoustic guitars and a bass provides a different kind of energy from his normal shows.
“The shows are pretty intense, mistakes will stand out, so you want to be on your best game,” said Ritter.
During Ritter’s full band stops, he usually carves carve out time to send the band to the back and play some acoustic tunes. One of the highlights of his March 2013 concert occurred with Ritter onstage alone with his acoustic. Not only did he play “In the Dark” without the band, he did it without stage lights or even a microphone. This sing-shouty take on the song made for a thoroughly memorable performance during an amazing night of music.
While there are certain to be focused moments like this at The Neptune, Ritter will also bring along select members of his band, including multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman and bassist and mustache wax connoisseur, Zachariah Hickman—Ritter’s “long time partner in crime,” whose hilarious facial expressions light up the stage almost as much as his stand-up bass.
Completing the night of acoustic bliss, Gregory Alan Isakov will kick off the night as the opening act. Isakov’s 2013 album The Weatherman is another mellow instant classic that meshes extremely well with the rest of Ritter’s styling.
Josh Ritter plays Seattle’s Neptune Theater on January 26.