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Josh Ritter plays “Miles Away” and talks the currency of art

Photo by Laura Wilson via Sacks & Co.


Growing up just outside of town in northern Idaho, Josh Ritter learned quickly he’d have to rely on himself for entertainment. That unrest led him to songwriting, and it’s a driving force he’s kept all these years. Josh discusses the process of writing in his head, something he describes is akin to “a rock rolling around your head until it becomes smooth marble.” He plays his latest single “Miles Away,” plus “Feels Like Lightning,” talks working with Bob Weir, and more.

No Name: You definitely have a seriousness and a genuineness (about you).

Josh Ritter: I think the real currency of art is being excited about the future. Like what is going to happen today? What am I going to work on today, what am I going to write? If you’re on the road, it’s who am I going to meet? What is the show going to be like? It’s always super exciting.

NN: How do you stay connected with that with today’s digital distractions?

JR: I guess I’m lucky…I get bored easily. I do something and I think I’ve done that, I am moving on. I have always been a little dissatisfied, and that dissatisfaction has propelled me to do the work that I love to do.

NN: Where do you think that comes from?

JR: I grew up way out of town in northern Idaho, which was a fantastic way to grow up. Before I had a way to get anywhere, I had to learn how to entertain myself. I threw a lot of rocks at other rocks: I lived out in the woods. So I carry the desire to entertain myself with me.

NN: You’re kind of establishing a reputation as an overachiever. You just put out a record last year and now you have a record coming out. What’s up with that?

JR: I feel that you gotta write without an editor. Sometimes I’ll be writing and a song will come up and I’ll have no idea what to do with it. I’ll put it in it’s own room for a while. This song, “Miles Away,” that I just put out, I needed to get out there. I didn’t know what to do with it, but I thought life is short, why am I holding onto stuff?

Catch the stunning acoustic performance and the full interview above.

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