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Music, Star Series
NS2 & THE CAROLINA THEATRE OF DURHAM PRESENT
Josh Ritter and The Royal City Band
With Special Guest Amythyst Kiah
“Josh Ritter remains at the top of his game two decades into a highlight-strewn career. He’d be forgiven for loosening his grip, but his hand has never felt surer.”
– NPR Music
“Harking back to Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and maybe a little Mark Knopfler, Mr. Ritter has always been a slinger of serious ideas and high-flown imagery.”
– The New York Times
“Mysterious, melancholy, melodic…and those are only the M’s.”
– Stephen King in Entertainment Weekly
Renowned singer, songwriter, musician, artist and best-selling author Josh Ritter will release his anticipated new album, “Spectral Lines,” April 28 via Thirty Tigers.
One of today’s most thoughtful and prolific voices, Ritter has released ten studio albums including 2019’s widely acclaimed, “Fever Breaks,” of which NPR Music praised, “He remains a hydrant of ideas while embodying an endless capacity for empathy and indignation, often within a single song.”
In addition to his work as a musician, Ritter is also a national best-selling author, having released two novels to date: 2021’s “The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All” and 2011’s “Bright’s Passage.” Released to critical attention, Stephen King wrote in The New York Times Book Review that “Bright’s Passage,” “shines with a compressed lyricism that recalls Ray Bradbury in his prime…This is the work of a gifted novelist.”
Josh Ritter has been thinking a lot about space exploration. It has nothing to do with his spellbinding new album, “Spectral Lines,” except that in a way, it really does.
“The Voyager spacecraft went up in ’77 and now it’s out there in a place that no one’s ever been before, and it’s sending back all these messages,” Ritter says. “I feel like songs do that in their own little way. They’re probes: they go out into the world, and sometimes you hear stories back from them, but really, they go off on their own.”
Ritter, too, is sending back messages, in the form of 10 new songs that are atmospheric and impressionistic. Like the recently launched Webb Telescope, or Voyager all those years ago, he’s looking for signs of life, reaching for a sense of commonality, something that feels universal in this infinite universe. “Spectral Lines,” his 11th album, finds those shared experiences in songs that push beyond the bounds of Ritter’s previous work. Recorded with longtime collaborator Sam Kassirer producing, it’s an album full of wonder and light as Ritter considers the ideas of love, devotion and what it means to be connected, to each other and to ourselves.
The Rounder Records debut from Amythyst Kiah, “Wary + Strange” marks the glorious collision of two vastly different worlds: the iconoclastic alt-rock that first sparked her musical passion, and the roots/old-time-music scene where she’s found breakout success in recent years, including recognition from Rolling Stone as “one of Americana’s great up-and-coming secrets.” Along with tapping into the vibrant musicality she honed in part through her studies in East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old Time, Country Music program, the Chattanooga-bred singer/songwriter expands on the uncompromising artistry she’s displayed as a member of Our Native Daughters—an all-women-of-color supergroup whose Kiah-penned standout “Black Myself” earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best American Roots Song and won Song of the Year at the Folk Alliance International Awards.
Produced by Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Amos Lee, Andrew Bird) and made with esteemed musicians like Blake Mills, “Wary + Strange” arrives as a deeply immersive body of work, endlessly redefining the limits of roots music in its inventive rhythms and textures. With an unforgettable voice that’s both unfettered and exquisitely controlled, Kiah gracefully interlaces political commentary and personal revelation, ultimately offering a raw yet nuanced examination of grief, alienation, and the hard-won triumph of total self-acceptance.