The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
Label: Pytheas Recordings
Even though Ritter's records only get bigger -- here demonstrated in elaborate production and a bonus-disc pressing -- he wears his uncomplicated influences so gracefully that things never seem overdone. Take the title as a hint: This collection brims with a cool confidence unknown to most of the folkies he's filed alongside, from the up-tempo opener, "To the Dogs or Whoever," to simpler efforts like "Still Beating." And while the apple-pie appeal of "The Temptation of Adam" (a near-miss of Paul Simon's "Duncan") is winning, he's more fun when it gets a bit sinister, as on "Mind's Eye."