The story behind acclaimed songwriter Josh Ritters new album The Beast in Its Tracks is enough to break fans hearts before he ever sings a note: It chronicles the sudden end of his marriage (his ex opened for him at McGlohon Theater in 2010).
Surprisingly, the album is not a complete downer, as it also covers finding new love.
Ritter returns to Knight Theater Wednesday. He spoke to the Observer last month about the album and his life now.
Q. Did you consider releasing a breakup record with no uplifting end to the story?
When things came crashing down, I was so angry and filled with rage. ... It took me a while to realize how terrible they were. If Id recorded the record at that point, it wouldve been a much different record. It took time for things to change and calm down and look up and not be so miserable. I began to see things more clearly. There (were) ... the beginnings of something like forgiveness and new love. It wasnt what I planned.
Q. This way theres a happy ending for someone thats relating to the breakup.
Ive come to realize anyone thats living well gets their heart broken. It doesnt matter if youre married or not. Its the same. You feel old and used up. I thought, if I can write about this stuff right, then it doesnt have to be autobiography. It can be something that everybody can relate to.
Q. Was it therapeutic?
It wasnt like catharsis. I wasnt thinking about it like that. I was trying to stay in at night and get in less trouble and try not to do anything stupid. I found myself wondering what to do with my time. As time went by, things changed. I went out on the town and met somebody. I partied and did a lot of stuff that was good for me and bad for me at the same time. Then my book (2011 novel Brights Passage) came out. I met (author) Haley (Tanner) my partner now and things just got better. It was the time passing. It wasnt the songs so much.
Q. How was the book experience?
Ill say the book tour is always swankier than the music tour. Writers get the guy thats holding up the sign (at the airport) and someone has chocolate for you. Hotels are nice because they know you wont trash them.
Q. How do you divide your time?
Everything is a kind of get it in when you can get it in. I have a baby thats 7 months old. ... The back of the tour bus is outfitted with a crib and a bed.
Q. I feel a lot better for you now, knowing that a new baby was on the other end of that divorce.
Its amazing. All this stuff has to work out for the better. You cant get a divorce and it be worse.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less