Josh Ritter has been a busy man since his 2010 release "So Runs The World Away", one of my favorite albums of that year. After touring extensively behind the album, he released the EP "To The Yet Unknowing World", a collection of B-sides, demos and remixes from "So Runs The World Away" in February of last year. Then in mid-December came the 2CD plus DVD set "Live At The Iveagh Gardens", recorded in Dublin in July of 2010.
Now Ritter has dropped another new EP in early 2012 with "Bringing In the Darlings", a six track release barely clocking in at over 20 minutes. Minus The Royal City Band, who Ritter tours with, this EP is mostly him alone, although producer Josh Kaufman does contribute as well. This is a no frills set, with acoustic guitar being the prevalent instrument the songs are based around. Drums and bass usually flesh things out but this is a stripped down collection of songs for sure.
The ballad "Darlin'" is the strongest of the six tracks here, a typical lovely Ritter melody and lyric. Opener "Why" and closer "Can't Go To Sleep (Without You)" are the best of the remaining ballads, both with bare bones production of just Ritter's vocals and acoustic guitar. "See Me Through" and "Love Is Making Its Way Back Home" are poppier, mid-tempo tracks, clearly showing the inspiration of the likes of Ricky Nelson and the Everly Brothers that Ritter has mentioned led him to record this EP.
"Bringing In The Darlings" won't blow anyone away, I've heard much better from Josh Ritter. It's not essential, but also not without merit. It's simply a nice stop-gap release from one of our finest songwriters as we await the follow-up to "So Runs The World Away".
"Bringing In The Darlings" was released February 21, 2012 on the Pytheas Recordings label.