Album Review: The Beast in its Tracks

The Beast in its Tracks by Josh Ritter

The Beast in its Tracks by Josh Ritter (Pytheas Recordings, 2013. 44 minutes) Josh Ritter is an American singer-songwriter born in Moscow, Idaho. A graduate of Oberlin College, Ritter sang open-mic nights and worked odd jobs until he was discovered by Glen Hansard. Ritter has released 7 full-length albums and numerous EPs. A Gig, Most Difficult In my opinion, the hardest gig in show business is that of the singer-songwriter. Typically alone on stage without much accompaniment, the singer-songwriter can’t hide behind anything. When you have a band, the focus of the audience wanders from member to member. A backing band can bring energy to a mundane song; it can hide meaningless lyrics. But when you are alone on stage,… Read More →

Album Review: Boys & Girls

Boys & Girls by Alabama Shakes (ATO, 2012. 38 minutes) Alabama Shakes formed in 2009. The group includes Brittany Howard on guitar and lead vocals, Zac Cockrell on bass, Heath Fogg on guitar, and Steve Johnson on drums. The band earned 3 Grammy nominations in 2013. An Inquiry on Vocals What makes a voice? Is it only about hitting all the right notes? Certainly pitch matters. We’ve all heard a tone-deaf rendition of a song; it’s not pretty. But what if you’re too perfect? Many have descried the emergence of auto-tune—a synthetic correction ensuring perfect pitch to a voice. Auto tune forcefully alters the blue note, a note sung both with conviction and sung intentionally off-pitch. Sometimes, these blue notes… Read More →