Written and recorded in the wake of the collapse of his marriage, Josh Ritter's latest album, The Beast in Its Tracks, is unsurprisingly anchored in personal heartache. Prior efforts like So Runs the World Away directed Ritter's substantial lyrical gifts outward and spun epic tales from odd premises — "The Curse" chronicled the love affair between a museum worker and reanimated mummy — but his latest is considerably more self-focused. A similarly intimate sentiment prevails sonically, with Ritter's wounded twang supported by spare acoustic instrumentation, drum kits only gently brushed when they bother to appear at all. In less capable hands such a tight lyrical focus and naked sound would prove highly problematic, but Ritter makes it all work by letting his stellar lyrics do the heavy lifting. Ritter's precisely poignant wording on lead single "Joy to You Baby" provides a riveting trip down a well-worn path ("I go to the parties/Throw my hands in the air/I drink what they pour me/The cups of who cares"). With Sea Wolf (solo acoustic). 18+.
Thu., April 25, 7:30 p.m., 2013