With the bittersweet “I Still Love You (Now and Then)” from his forthcoming LP Fever Breaks, Josh Ritter addresses a former love who still holds in her sway a piece of his shattered heart. Even as he references a new romance in the mournful ballad’s lyrics, he is simultaneously drawn to a powerful memory, singing, “I still love you now and then, when her fingers brush my skin/When the night falls over all of everything that’s been/And everything we were and cannot be again.”
Fever Breaks, which is Ritter’s tenth studio album, was produced by Jason Isbell and features Isbell’s band the 400 Unit throughout. The new record, cut at Nashville’s Sound Emporium studios, continues Ritter’s exploration of Americana, blending gentle country twang and potent Muscle Shoals-influenced production with the singer-songwriter’s contemplative lyrics, which range from thorny and political to refreshingly hopeful. The deeper connection between Ritter and Isbell, which led to the multiple-Grammy-winning artist taking the producer’s chair, was forged during a joint tour in 2016.
“The inclusivity of the whole group and the musicality every night [on tour] was just wonderful,” Ritter told Rolling Stone Country during a 2018 recording session. “I wanted to do something different with my record and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to work with those guys?’ I wrote Jason asking him about it, not really knowing what he would say. It felt like such a good experience to have, a great life experience to get to make a record with a friend like that.”
Fever Breaks will be released April 26th and is now available for pre-order.