Singer-songwriters are a dime-a-dozen. Hundreds of them scourge the earth with weak, featureless folk/pop that suck the life out of every melody they touch. Musicians like Idaho’s Josh Ritter are harder to find, a singer with a warm, rural-tinted voice that fits into his nuanced, gentle pop—a worthy singer/songwriter in every respect. Ritter’s newest, “So Runs The World Away,” expands on 2007’s “The Historical Conquest Of Josh Ritter,” throwing trumpets, organs, French horns onto his solemn, sweet songs. Ballads like the clever “Folk Bloodbath” (which combines the murder stories of several old tunes) and the Paul Simon-esque “Lark” have a soothing mood that charms with sincerity instead of twee cuteness. His obvious indebtedness to Bob Dylan and other old folk pioneers would be a hindrance to some, unable to improve upon a genre that they find sacred, but Ritter explores and expands upon his influences, creating a rare folksy triumph that remains true to his country upbringing, even well after he’s plugged in his electric and added a litany of other instruments. (Andy Seifert)
May 15 at Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield, (773) 472-0449, at 7:30pm. $24.