Thin Blue Flame

Matt Berther bio photo By Matt Berther Comment

I really have a wide taste in music and can listen to most anything for at least a little bit. For the most part though, I've always enjoyed music in the hard rock genre more than other genres. That changed not long ago, after I was introduced to Josh Ritter.

Josh is a musician from right here in Idaho and currently, my favorite artist. If I had to describe his music, I would have to say minimalist with a very strong emphasis on lyrical content. Josh is an exceptional poet, a modern day Jim Morrison. Josh is able to craft hauntingly, beautiful lyrics. None of his lyrics are more mesmerizing than Thin Blue Flame (free mp3). Here's a sample:

Borders soft with refugees
Streets a' swimming with amputees
It's a bible or a bullet they put over your heart
It's getting harder and harder to tell them apart
Days are nights and the nights are long
Beating hearts blossom into walking bombs
And those still looking in the clear blue sky for a sign
Get missiles from so high they might as well be divine

Now the wolves are howling at our door
Singing bout vengeance like it's the joy of the Lord
Bringing justice to the enemies not the other way round
They're guilty when killed and they're killed where they're found
If what's loosed on earth will be loosed up on high
It's a Hell of a Heaven we must go to when we die

Where even Laurel begs Hardy for vengeance please
The fat man is crying on his hands and his knees
Back in the peacetime he caught roses on the stage
Now he twists indecision takes bourbon for rage
Lead pellets peppering aluminum
Halcyon, laudanum and opium

Sings kiss thee hardy this poisoned cup
His winding sheet is busy winding up
In darkness he looks for the light that has died
But you need faith for the same reasons that its so hard to find
And this whole thing is headed for a terrible wreck
And like a good tragedy that's what we expect

There's so much more to this song; essentially a diary of what's been going on in our world for the past year. This song could easily be used for a college level study of the English language. Every time I listen to this song, I pick up yet another reference from it and find myself learning more and more about it. This song has spoken to me much more than any other song I can remember.

The rest of Josh's current CD, entitled "The Animal Years", is equally impressive, from the haunting introduction via 'The Girl in the War', to beautiful a cappella ballads like 'Idaho'. This album has it all and presents it in a very dramatic and melodic fashion. Very highly recommended. Josh's new CD "The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter" will be publicly available on August 21 (available for preorder now). This promises to be a very solid sequel to Animal Years.