American Songwriter’s Top 50 Albums of 2015: Presented by D’Addario

20. Josh Ritter: Sermon on the Rocks Josh Ritter was one step ahead of his audience when he began work on his followup to Beast in its Tracks, his sparse, vulnerable 2013 breakup album which had immediately become one of the most beloved records in his catalogue. The result, this year’s Sermon on the Rocks, is a wild departure and unpredicted artistic reinvention that nonetheless feels necessary and inevitable the second it begins with the sinister bouncy hop of “Birds of the Meadow.” Ritter brings his trademark word-cramming gothic storytelling to folk dramas like “Henrietta, Indiana” and electronic showstoppers like “Homecoming.” Elsewhere, he experiments with hip-hop cadence (“Getting Ready to Get Down”) and writes yet another classic ode to being a young man in need of a girlfriend (“Where the Night Goes”). Sermon on the Rocks isn’t so much a wild left turn for Ritter so much as it is prime evidence that the Idaho singer-songwriter’s bag of tricks is much bigger than anyone could have ever expected. 19. Patty Griffin: Servant of Love A patron saint of Americana music, Patty Griffin has long carried the torch for the more poetic side of the genre, long ago establishing herself as…

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