God Bless You, Josh Ritter

05/26/2010 05:46 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Idaho-born Americana rock musician had played in Baltimore before, but I wasn't invited to the concert.

So when our son called a few weeks ago from school and asked me to purchase tickets for his homecoming (Everett's, not Josh's) he didn't have to ask twice. The last time we shared a concert venue was for his 16th birthday... The Killers were playing Madison Square Garden. That seems like a very distant memory as the boy completes his freshman year.

Any parent out there knows that once your kid goes off to college those invitations are few and far between. Remember the phase when your son or daughter would rather stay home on a Saturday night rather than risk being seen by peers at a movie or restaurant with their (gasp) mother and/or father?

I bought three tickets the second we got off the phone.

Warning: if your idea of a concert is sitting back and letting the music wash over you, think again. There are no seats, for starters. You must get there early enough to claim a spot on the floor and then wait for what's sure to be a late start. And that's for the warm-up act you have probably never heard of.

In Josh Ritter's current tour that warm-up is a bonus. Dawn Landes is married to the main event. And she is lovely and talented and grateful for the welcoming Bmore audience. My son was thoroughly charmed and since he's quite the music critic, attention must be paid.

A brief intermission and then an amazing 2-hour performance by Josh and The Royal City Band. I was happily familiar with 'Harrisburg' and a few songs I recognized from other artists (Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini!) as if the boyish man was acknowledging the few parents whose sons and daughters were brave enough to bring them. Ritter seemed as grateful as his wife for the multi-generational crowd, with no room for cynicism.

My husband bowed out early (he had to work the next morning.) But in that sea of denim and halter tops I stood firm. Not only because I was actually enjoying the concert. But because, for two hours, I had my son back. We were moving to the same beat. Laughing at the same jokes. Applauding and begging for one more encore.

God Bless You Josh Ritter.