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On Top of the 'World'



    In 2010, Josh Ritter put out one of the year's flat-out best albums. The lyrical So Runs the World Away was a beautiful collection of songs that showcased Ritter's uncanny gift for marrying gorgeous compositions with heartbreaking narratives. It made its way onto several year-end lists, including Owl and Bear's fancy Best of 2010 one, and every bit of the attention was deserved.

    So you can forgive the guy for taking a victory lap.

    In February, Ritter released To the Yet Unknowing World, a six-track tour EP. Comprised mostly of remixes and B-sides from So Runs the World Away, the solid but unambitious To the Yet Unknowing World allowed Ritter to give fans something new while subverting the monumental expectations for So Runs the World Away's follow-up.

    Then, in June, Ritter tried his hand at literature with the release of Bright's Passage, his acclaimed debut novel. Set in the wake of World War I, the book tells the story of a man, his infant son and their guardian angel as they struggle to escape a forest fire and the man's vicious in-laws. You can read the first chapter of the novel for free here.

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    As if a book and an EP weren't enough to keep him busy, Ritter has also been touring nonstop, flashing his Cheshire Cat grin at crowds all over the word. If you've been unfortunate enough to have never seen one of his incredible live shows, your luck just took a turn for the better.

    On Aug. 16, Ritter and his backing group, the Royal City Band, are coming to San Diego's House of Blues, and you really, really don't want to miss it. Old 97's are playing too, but who cares about the opener? It's Josh Ritter.Go buy tickets.

    Chris Maroulakos is a writer and managing editor for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear.