Josh Ritter to play Galway Arts Festival

Josh Ritter, the American singer-songwriter, will be one of the Galway Arts Festival headline acts this year, as he is set to play the festival Big Top on Saturday July 20.

This ‘Galway Arts Festival and Róisín Dubh presents...’ show will see the 36 year-old Idaho born singer-songwriter joined by his Royal City Band and special guests.

On the night Josh will be performing songs from his new album, The Beast In Its Tracks, which was released on the Yep Roc label on Tuesday.

“I wrote and recorded this record in the 18 months after my marriage had fallen apart,” the musician and novelist said. “All heartbreak is awful – my broken heart wasn’t unique. But writing these songs was helping me get through the night and I didn’t have the strength to care or question.

“Far from the grand, sweeping, feel of the songs on So Runs The World Away, these new songs felt like rocks in the shoe, hard little nuggets of whatever they were, be it spite, remorse, or happiness. I hadn’t composed this stuff, I’d scrawled it down, just trying to keep ahead of the heartbreak, and they needed to be recorded like that. Listening to it now makes me very proud.”

The album has already enjoyed many positive reviews, with The Guardian saying its “directness is emotionally devastating”, while The Irish Times said, “such is the power and depth of the album you can feel Ritter’s sense of conflict seeping from every personal song”.

As well as his musical activities, Josh also made his debut as a published author with his New York Times best-selling novel, Bright’s Passage, published in 2011 by Dial Press/Random House.

Bright’s Passage follows a young, widowed veteran of the First World War, Henry Bright, as he and his infant son, along with an unlikely guardian angel, flee from a forest fire and Bright’s cruel in-laws.

The author Stephen King said Bright’s Passage: “shines with a compressed lyricism that recalls Ray Bradbury in his prime. This is the work of a gifted novelist.”

Tickets are €33.50 and go on sale tomorrow at 9am from www.galwayartsfestival.com, roisindubh.net, and ticketmaster.ie, and from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. A limited number of Early Bird tickets at €30 will be available from galwayartsfestival.com

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