Songs Illustrated: Josh Ritter’s “Henrietta, Indiana” by S.M. Vidaurri

Comics Features Josh Ritter
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In Songs Illustrated, Paste enlists its favorite comic book artists and cartoonists to translate songs into comic art.

“I’ve been through some rough factory towns where you feel like everybody’s just trying to hold on,” Josh Ritter says of “Henrietta, Indiana,” the reverb-drenched blues epiphany off his kinetic new album, Sermon on the Rocks. “All that has to happen is the factory closing down and a girl sees father turn bad, turns to alcohol to get help and medicate. It all just seems realistic to me.”

In Paste’s latest Songs Illustrated, writer and illustrator S.M. Vidaurri channels Ritter’s narrative into a moody tour through a town where the sun sets in more than one way. Vidaurri is the auteur behind such poignant works as Iron: Or, The War After, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches and the coming-of-age magical drama Iscariot, released last week from Archaia. Throughout his work, he crafts portraits at once lonely and regal, frozen watercolor landscapes that can’t help but feel hauntingly familiar. These four pages present an autopsy of places in the process of being forgotten; the Midwestern Rust Belt relics, the towns isolated by new interstate highways. Though cardinals tend to be a standing motif of life and vibrancy in Vidaurri’s works, the crow’s substitution is especially apt.

Josh Ritter  is currently on tour for Sermon on the Rocks, and S.M. Vidaurri has also been known to summon his own wistful folk revelry.

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More Songs Illustrated
Bear in Heaven’s “Demon” by Tula Lotay
Saintseneca’s “Bad Ideas” by Julian Dassai
The Good Life’s “How Small We Are” by Noah Van Sciver
Neko Case’s “Wild Creatures” by Emily Carroll

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