Josh Ritter w. very special guest Ramblin' Jack Elliott at Academy of Music
Add to Calendar
DOORS OPEN AT 6:30PM
TICKETS: $29.99 - $39.99
**SPECIAL FESTIVAL VIP PACKAGES AVAILABLE** = $175 each
- Includes seating in the first 5 rows to all 3 Academy Of Music shows (Fri 2/28, Sat 2/29, Sun 3/1)
- 25% off festival merch (like a t-shirt or hat) plus a festival poster
- First opportunity to buy tickets for other Back Porch Festival shows
- Invitation to special private Back Porch Fest events
Contact Signature Sounds to purchase VIP package! Call 413-341-3317 or swing by The Parlor Room M-F between 12 - 5pm.
“Josh Ritter? Hell, he was born dead center of the whole country, who else is gonna tell us what it’s really like.” That’s Jason Isbell, who knows a little something about songwriting, on why Josh Ritter’s songs are so important right now.
What must it feel like, to do what Josh Ritter can? To be able to see the world clear as it is, to be able to hold in your mind the various ways it might roll, spin or cant, to draw these versions for us in a few, perfectly chosen words, set to melodies as instantly memorable as they are fresh?
I imagine it must feel like a calling and a burden, and must bring about in Ritter a sense of gratitude and obligation—To hear those voices, those couplets, those musical lines and to know that there are so many of us waiting for him bring them to us, like a basket of just ripened tangerines on an arid summer day, exactly what we need at the exact moment we most need it.
There is a hint for us in the title of Josh’s new album, Fever Breaks. And listening to it, I can sense the fever that took hold of Josh as he was writing, the insistent, all encompassing waves of emotion and heat, the chills and shakes that blew through him and finally broke just before it would have killed him.
This urgency shows itself in the songs he wrote, in the playing and singing that elevates the recordings into incantations of hope in desperate times, into that one ray of light sneaking its way through the one needle sized hole in the ground above the collapsed mine shaft we are all stuck in: the United States of America in 2019.
“In between nothing but the thin air and the unknown,” Ritter sings in On The Water, describing not only the fragile state of a relationship, but also the state of the US as he apprehends it at this particular moment in history. But one of Josh’s many gifts is that, even as he documents the meanness, the songs themselves lift us out of it, into a place of reverie.
As I listen, I find myself singing along, laughing, entered into a shared place of joy. This is secular church music, because it unifies us, bonds us, brings us together in a search for love, peace, understanding and an escape from the earthly cruelty all around us.
When I asked Isbell, who produced Fever Breaks, what it was about Josh Ritter’s music that made him want to collaborate with Josh, he spoke of Ritter’s perfectionism, of Ritter’s willingness to do the work required to turn an instant of inspiration into a great song. And then he got quiet for a long moment. “Look,” he said. “This American experiment is getting to the point where we need to call for help. We’re not under water yet, but we are stuck on the rocks. Josh’s music is a perfect document of these times.”
—Brian Koppelman, co-creator, showrunner Billions, co-writer, Rounders
One of the last true links to the great folk traditions of this country, with over 40 albums under his belt, Ramblin' Jack Elliott is considered one of the country's legendary foundations of folk music. Long before every kid in America wanted to play guitar — before Elvis, Dylan, the Beatles or Led Zeppelin — Ramblin' Jack had picked it up and was passing it along. From Johnny Cash to Tom Waits, Beck to Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder to Bruce Springsteen, the Grateful Dead to The Rolling Stones, they all pay homage to Ramblin' Jack Elliott. In the tradition of roving troubadours Jack has carried the seeds and pollens of story and song for decades from one place to another, from one generation to the next. They are timeless songs that outlast whatever current musical fashion strikes today's fancy. His tone of voice is sharp, focused and piercing. All that and he plays the guitar effortlessly in a fluid flat-picking perfected style. He was a brilliant entertainer....Most folk musicians waited for you to come to them, Jack went out and grabbed you. ”He was the King of the Folksingers”~ Bob Dylan, Chronicles: Volume One .
Academy of Music Theatre
274 Main Street