In a conversation just a couple of days after releasing an EP of rare and previously unreleased songs, See Here, I Have Built You A Mansion, Josh Ritter not only gave me the scoop on the new collection but offered insights into his work and himself.
It's clear that even if he weren't a multi-instrumentalist and singer, he'd be an artist worth knowing strictly as a wordsmith. (He published a novel, Bright's Passage, in 2011.) Illustrative similes are a natural part of his speech, whether he's comparing Mark Knopfler to Shakespeare or the throughline of an album to beads on his daughter's necklace.
In addition to his musical craft and evocative language, Ritter is a painter whose own work adorns the cover of the new EP, and he spoke with me about the relationship between painting and music. Whether offering details about writing songs on pizza boxes, making the most of time spent at the Albany airport, or living in Brooklyn, his speech has the rhythm and vitality that defines his music.