The corporate-chic coffee shop in the Seelbach’s lobby is a hipster stronghold amid the hotel’s otherwise Gatsby vibe. Today, it offers the perfect backdrop for a conversation with Brooks Ritter, a man who might very well be the best singer/songwriter/barista in town. The affable, soft-spoken Ritter sits down behind a fresh cuppa after clocking out from an afternoon shift. We’re here talking about the upcoming release of his debut album, The Horse Fell Lame.
“At least twice before I had different collections of songs recorded, and I was sure they were going to be my debut album,” he says. “But finally, this feels like the right one, as if there’s a really cohesive story within these songs.”
I ask him about the story The Horse is telling. Ritter pauses, looks up from behind his cup and says, “It’s more of a journey through longing, despair and finally redemption, rather than being an actual narrative of some kind.”
The Atherton grad has been playing around Louisville since age 17.
Ritter’s resounding tenor voice and thin arrangements complement a core spirituality that runs through many of the songs. “I am a Christian first and singer/songwriter second. Both are very personal to me, so it only makes sense that one would reflect the other,” he says. “However, I don’t ever want to be bound by the limitations that come with being a ‘Christian artist.’”
The Horse Fell Lame is also a meditation on Ritter’s view of the world around him. Of “Bones from the Ground,” he says, “I try to reconcile my feelings on war and the general unrest that aggravates society as a whole right now. ‘Prodigal Feet’ is a song I wrote for my now-wife. In fact, I think that song is the reason she married me.”
Brooks Ritter CD release
Friday, Dec. 5
The 930 Listening Room
930 Mary St.
Free; 7 p.m.