While his name might not be on the tip of everyone's tongue in his homeland, folk-leaning singer/songwriter Josh Ritter has benefited from numerous positive reviews and a loyal fan base. Born in Idaho, Ritter bought his first guitar after hearing the Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash classic "Girl from the North Country." While attending college in Oberlin, OH, Ritter got his first listen to Leonard Cohen and Gillian Welch. He instantly fell in love with their songs and dropped his neuroscience major in favor of the pursuit of music. With classic folk venues like Club Passim, Boston was the place Ritter chose to follow his dream. He recorded and released his self-titled debut in 1999, but it was 2002's Golden Age of Radio that got him noticed.
Selling copies on his own funded touring, which funded more albums and so on. Signature Sounds Recordings soon picked the album up, gave it exposure on a national level, and the four- and five-star reviews started rolling in. The HBO series Six Feet Under grabbed a track from the album for their end credits, while Ritter received an offer to open for the Frames on a tour of Ireland. Soon his single "Me & Jiggs" was in the Irish Top 40, a headlining tour of the country was sold out, and a tribute band named Cork was playing nothing but Ritter material in numerous Irish pubs. Back home, the following was growing with sold-out shows in New York City and Boston, while an invitation to the Sundance Film Festival began 2003 on a high note. It took 14 February days in rural France to record his third album, and much of the equipment used for the session was Curtis Mayfield's old gear. The result, Hello Starling, was released in September of the same year. Animal Years, his much anticipated follow-up, arrived in March 2006, followed by The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter and the live CD/DVD In the Dark: Live at Vicar Street in 2007 and So Runs the World Away in 2010.--allmusic.com