Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Tune of the Week – “Mind’s Eye”

Here’s where it starts to get interesting again. A humid Wednesday night in Galway. You know you’re in the wild, wild west when you see a gaggle of future bean-an-ti of unlicensed B&Bs in Salthill roaming the streets in search …

Thu, Sep 6, 2007, 09:33

   

Here’s where it starts to get interesting again.

A humid Wednesday night in Galway. You know you’re in the wild, wild west when you see a gaggle of future bean-an-ti of unlicensed B&Bs in Salthill roaming the streets in search of a feed at Supermacs, followed by their future husbands kicking cans. The only peaceful movements in the City of the Tribes tonight come from the swans elegantly boating out by the Claddagh.

There’s a huge sense of occasion in the Roisin Dubh. Josh Ritter is in town with a new-ish band and a new bunch of songs from an album which goes on release here on Friday. The room at the back of the pub is packed to capacity. Heaving, even. That pre-game buzz sweeps through the room like an electric shock.

The new release is called “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter” and it’s a home run of an album. Cock-sure, snappy, wide-eyed and smart, it has songs which bear all the hallmarks of Ritter’s craft to date and songs which are nothing like what’s gone before. Some people are really, really going to have to rethink their positions on this marathon man in the months to come.

One of the songs which is going to slay you is “Mind’s Eye”, the song which kicks off tonight’s gig. I don’t think The Clash ever got to play Idado, but that nagging groove to “London Calling” sure as hell took a train at some stage to Moscow, Ritter’s hometown, the lentil capital of north America and the state’s city with a smile. In just under three minutes of shimmies and shakes, Ritter and his band call time on the lightweights and the fakers with one lyrical nugget, like “my day might be coming, but yours is coming first”, after another.

It’s not the only new song to make you take notes. “Empty Hearts” is Ritter’s “Fairytale of New York”, the song destined to soundtrack the hinge of old and new years. “Rumors” is an old-fashioned dancehall sweetheart, while his wordplay on the showboating “The Temptation Of Adam” will leave you reeling.

You get a strong inkling that the new album is not just where Ritter comes good (if anything, the new album is really the logical place for him to end up following “The Animal Years” diversion he took after “Hello Starling”), but where the mainstream come along for the ride too and not just in Ireland too. Fact is, this album was released a few weeks ago in the United States, where t entered into the Billboard charts at inumber 79, so it’s not just the Irish who’re showing the love for the Ritter. It’s going to be a bit of a rollercoaster from this point on.

(You can also watch a video performance of “Mind’s Eye” here)

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