- By Team Ritter
It’s been a long time coming, but The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter is now available on vinyl!
The record is being released as a deluxe double LP in a gatefold jacket. The studio album (LP #1) is on 180 gram translucent RED vinyl, plus a 10 song 12” (LP #2) on 150 gram black vinyl. The second LP features rare & hard to find remixes and demos, as well as THREE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED demos: ”Michelle,” ”Good Days,” and ”Black Jack Davey.”
LP #2 track list:
Good Days (demo)
Black Jack Davey (demo)
Still Beating (demo) FREE DOWNLOAD
Rumours (Jackdrag Off Broadway Remix)
Naked as a Window
Package includes a download card with the entire 2xLP track list.
Three random lucky fans who order from the Josh Ritter webstore will win a vinyl test pressing of The Historical Conquests 2LP set. Only 4 copies exist in the world!
THE HISTORICAL CONQUESTS OF JOSH RITTER BY…JOSH RITTER
The story of Conquests starts with the release of The Animal Years. The Animal Years was heady stuff. It was political, religious, searching in the ways that I felt best represented my own feelings about the nation at the time. To write another doozy like that felt wrong. I’d exorcised those feelings enough. No, the next record would be about love. Big love. The new record would be chuckly with it. And rather than spend a long time writing, I would fly by the seat of my pants.
So it was that, six months after the release of The Animal Years, we all found ourselves in Maine, at Sam Kassirer’s newly-acquired farmhouse, beginning work on The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. With the exception of “The Temptation of Adam” and “Empty Hearts” I hadn’t written a word before I arrived. Over the next three weeks, however, I wrote like a madman. Sam had gotten me a tiny house down the road, and each morning after breakfast I would walk down through the snow, the air freezing my breath, making me feel more alive than I had in a while. There was no sluggishness from too long on the road, no worry about what might or might not happen next, nothing but the electric shock of the cold and the promise of hours of uninterrupted writing, recording, and hanging out with great friends. I would work on a song, get it where I thought it need to be, then bound up to the farmhouse, where the band would be working on laying tracks on an earlier song. I would listen, give my thoughts, and then play a new song for them. We’d add it to the pile and keep moving.
“To the Dogs or Whoever” slammed into being so fast that I barely knew the words before it was done. “Wait for Love”, “Moons”, “Next to the Last Romantic” all appeared as if waiting to be written down. I wrote “Open Doors” in an hour one morning.
If I had to use a single word to sum it up, it would be fun. With the world suddenly at our fingertips, the band, under the eye of Sam, was doing things that it felt like we had been preparing for a long time. It felt like the storm that had been building had finally arrived. “Right Moves” and “Rumors”, songs I had only ever had chords for, came out of the thunderclap, as did some of the stuff I didn’t release (until now), like “Good Days”, “Sheriff McGiven” and “Naked As A Window.”
At night we made big dinners, drank cheap beer by the case, and devised wild, barely sensical games based on b.b. guns, ski masks and toboggan races. It was all hellaciously good fun.
When I look back at it now, Historical Conquests was the moment when I took my own work into my own hands. For better or worse, I learned to embrace it as a part of me that I could neither control nor destroy nor ignore. And it was at that moment that I feel we all became each other’s worthy companions. Ours weren’t the lives of those dependent on the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Ours would be outrageous, and that was all that mattered. My friends. This is what Conquests was about. My friends, and all that we were and all that we could do.