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Hear Josh Ritter’s New ‘Old Black Magic’ From Jason Isbell-Produced LP

Ritter’s upcoming album ‘Fever Breaks’ features performances by the 400 Unit and will be released April 26th

Earlier this month, Josh Ritter announced plans to release a new Jason Isbell-produced album, promising a collaborative effort with Isbell’s revered band the 400 Unit. On Tuesday, Ritter revealed that the album, titled Fever Breaks, will be released April 26th, and gave the first glimpse of the project with the new song “Old Black Magic.”

Finding the sweet spot between the introspective lyricism of Ritter’s previous efforts and the swaggering Southern rock of the 400 Unit, “Old Black Magic” blends the artists’ talents to dizzying effect. Crunchy guitars and a driving rhythm section lend a smoldering drama to Ritter’s gritty voice, underscoring the mystery and longing at the heart of the lyric.

Ritter recorded Fever Breaks alongside Isbell, the 400 Unit and engineer Matt Ross-Spang at Nashville’s Sound Emporium Studios over the course of several sessions between August and November of 2018. In addition to “Old Black Magic,” Fever Breaks features Ritter’s version of “Silver Blade,” which he originally wrote for Joan Baez’s 2018 album Whistle Down the Wind.

As Ritter told Rolling Stone Country during the album’s final recording session, much of Fever Breaks was inspired by the tumult of the current political moment, a phenomenon which has only seen the songs grow in relevance since their initial writing.

“The songs are very reflective of the times in which they were written,” he says. “As we started coming together and playing, the songs that felt like they were gonna work really jumped out as obvious. From there on, after we recorded in August [2018] we had this really nice time to stop and listen and let the songs marinate a little bit. In that time, the world has just become even crazier. There’s a lot of the record that feels reflective of the moment it was in.”

Fever Breaks follows Ritter’s 2017 album Gathering. Ritter will release the new LP via Phytheas Recordings/Thirty Tigers. He also recently announced spring and summer tour dates for 2019, with supporting acts including Penny & Sparrow and Amanda Shires.

  1. “Ground Don’t Want Me”
  2. “Old Black Magic”
  3. “On the Water”
  4. “I Still Love You (Now and Then)”
  5. “The Torch Committee”
  6. “Silverblade”
  7. “All Some Kind of Dream”
  8. “Losing Battles”
  9. “A New Man”
  10. “Blazing Highway Home”

Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band tour dates:

May 8 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
May 9 – Montreal, QC @ L’Astral
May 10 – Northampton, MA @ Calvin Theater
May 11 – Boston, MA @ Wilbur Theater
May 14 – Philadelphia, PA @ Keswick Theater
May 16 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Carnegie Memorial Hall
May 17 – Washington, DC @ Lincoln Theater
May 18 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater
May 19 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
May 21 – Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Theater
May 22 – Chicago, IL @ The Vic
May 23 – Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theater
June 14 – Houston, TX @ Heights Theater
June 15 – Austin, TX @ Paramount Theatre
June 20 – Boise, ID @ Egyptian Theater
June 21 – Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory
June 22 – Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theater
June 23 – Seattle, WA @ The Moore
June 25 – Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall
June 28 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
June 29 – Los Angeles, CA @ Theater at the Ace
September 21 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
September 26 – Durham, NC @ Carolina Theater
September 27 – Asheville, NC @ the Orange Peel
September 28 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium

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