In the tradition of the Bob Dylans and Leonard Cohens of yesteryear, Josh Ritter is an unashamed balladeer. His deep, enchanting voice flows over folky acoustic guitar, Hammond organ and percussion. The sound is clean, rich, and maybe you’ve heard it before. It really would be a bit silly to say he’s crossing musical borders, but he’s doing what he does impeccably.
Josh sticks to the same gameplan throughout, but the songwriting is accomplished, catchy, emotive, and it stays interesting. The lyrics are poetic and often brilliant. This sort of music isn’t for everyone, but if you do like mature, well produced, low-to-mid tempo, melodic folk-pop songs, it’s difficult to think you would find any problem with this album. Down in my room, with a perplexing and draining late summer cold, Hello Starling is my comforting mug of steaming tea, and an understated friend I feel I’ve known my whole life.
8.5/10 or something like that