13 Point Program to Topple Americana:
1. I find this album to be rich with intention,
admirable for its warmth, and richly populated with
hooks and hum-ability.
2. Josh Ritter is an able musician who is popular in
Ireland, where sorrowful blue-eyed blues is beloved.
3. References to Townes Van Zant and Nick Drake are
stated clearly, or nodded toward.
4. Where Ritter is bare-boned, Drake was just one
stinking sliver of icey bone to cut yourself on.
5. Noble aspirations and integrity are professed with
every breathy guitar chord, but why are you so nice?
6. It may be cheap to hold a record up to the scrutiny
of accomplished forebears and rivals, but if the
record makes the references clear and so demands it,
7. Townes Van Zant made an argument for the atheist’s
spirituality, and wrought a new honky-tonk paradigm
with it. What have you done for me lately?
8. A key to great art is alchemy, or, rather,
synthesis. Bob Dylan perverts Huddie Ledbetter and
Charlie Patton into some diamondy poetry- rock. The
Stooges ram the Stones and The Doors into dark spooky
rock, called proto-punk. (Compared to The Hives, who
are inspired by The Stooges and etc. to make music
like...The Stooges! That’s called failure.)
9. In other words, deliver unto us (and yourself)
something that we don’t know.
10. I’m afraid of Will Oldham.
11. Track 7, "Leaving," is the dumbest, best song on
12. There are fantastic passages on this record, where
chiming and strumming and drumming begin to radiate.
13. A lyrical cliché is a practical tool in country
music, but it must be a fully-aired, public cliché,
joining with the greater body, with the history of the