Album: Josh Ritter <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Girl in the War EP, V2
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The Independent Culture

Josh Ritter has all the credentials required to become a notable singer-songwriter, not least his popularity in Ireland, always a shrewd barometer of a folk singer's worth. This seven-track EP showcases the standout track from his last album, The Animal Years, an anti-war song with a couple of innovative twists. In the first place, as the title suggests, it reverses the usual gender structure: rather than the wife or girlfriend waiting for their man to return safe from the front, here it's a man pining for his soldier girl; and secondly, drawing on the biblical imagery which informs some of Ritter's work, it's couched as a sort of updated epistolary exchange between Saints Peter and Paul, the former disparaging "all the words we wrote" (their gospels?) in the face of this personal involvement. Over plaintive mandolin and organ, he frets about the validity of the conflict, and yearns for her return. It's a wonderful, moving performance, ably backed up by stripped-down versions of a few other songs from the album, and a handful of new material.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Girl in the War', 'Blame it on the Tetons', 'Peter Killed the Dragon'