Fever Breaks by Josh Ritter


“These are darker days than any others that I’ve seen”

As much as I want to make these blog posts positive, it’s getting harder and harder to stop sinking into a negative gloomy view of the future. Lockdown is being eased but how safe is it out there? How much can we trust what the Tory government is telling us? Our Prime Minister is a blustering, entitled, posturing liar. The economy of the country is set for catastrophe when BREXIT is finalised at the end of the year. Donald Trump will be clinging on to power at any cost come the election in November.

There was a hugely worrying article in yesterday’s Guardian by Jonathan Freedland that paints the following scenario: Biden wins the election but he only wins narrowly in a few key states. Trump declares victory, claiming that postal voting has made the difference and is susceptible to fraud. The Republic legislature in those key States refuse to certify the results and the result gets passed to the House of Representatives where each state has one vote, regardless of the population. There are 26 Republican States and 24 Democratic States. Trump clings on to the Presidency.


Josh Ritter has released ten albums. I listened to “So Runs The World Away” on its release in 2010 and enjoyed it. I have not listened to any of the next three albums but “Fever Breaks” is a really excellent record. Amanda Spires has been a fan of Josh Ritter since the release of his first album in 2000. She is married to Jason Isbell who produced this record. Jason Isbell’s backing group is called The 400 Unit and they are used extensively on this record.

There are many standout songs on this record. “All Some Kind Of Dream” consists of five verses. It has a very jolly upbeat melody and some very downbeat lyrics. In the first verse, Josh Ritter explains that we are all human, regardless of race but in the second verse he describes the plight of refugees and reminds us all that Americans are all descended from immigrants in one form or another. The third verse is about how children are separated from their families in the Texas detention camps. In the fourth verse, he despairs as he has seen “compassion on the run”. Finally, he is lying in bed with his lover, thinking about all this and wishing it was all a dream. It’s deep and dark. So, obviously, I love it.

“All Some Kind Of Dream”

“Old Black Magic” is much more of a rocker. I don’t really know what “heartland rock” is, but I suspect that this is it. It’s one of those songs that is written by someone who is universally acclaimed as a great songwriter. To me, that often means that I don’t fully understand what the lyrics are about. I think I know that this song is about imminent unhappiness as his girl is about to leave him. He can’t sleep because he’s crying all the time, he knows she is about to steal his soul and he knows that the problems are all in his head as “that old black magic comes rolling in.” This live performance is excellent.

“Old Black Magic”

I really love the song “On The Water”. Again, it’s meaning isn’t exactly clear but to me it sounds like he is in love with a woman and he is imploring her to give him a try. He thinks that they have a lot in common, he thinks they would be good for each other and although they are not together at the moment it’s just a short walk for her to come to him. The only problem is that the walk she needs to take is on water. So, once again, doom, despair, despondency, depression and desolation are only a breath away. That’s more like it.

“On The Water”

Published by wilfulsprinter

Music lover

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