If you've seen Ritter play live, you know how infectious he is on the concert stage. If you have not, do yourself a favor and go. His joyous smile and his humor will give you a peek into his open, exuberant heart.
"Sermon on the Rocks" is just out, but I've had it for a few months, and every time I listen to it -- and I listen to it often -- I feel glad to be breathing the same oxygen as the musician who made it. And this is odd. "Sermon" should take me months to accept and adore. Why doesn't it?
The beauty of Blake Mills is that his primary concern is making music that's absolutely authentic to the moment of creation. And then, because he's a genius at the editing console, authentic to the possibilities of production.
As a showman, Peter Wolf is right up there with Mick Jagger and James Brown. He doesn't put out a batch of unrelated songs, he makes what used to be called "albums," and they take you on a carefully sequenced adventure.
For me, the holidays are the idea time for unexpected gifts -- music that defines a moment, a season, a time in your life. Music that makes you listen, forces you to feel and think, inspires you to dance and dream.