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Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter back in Alaska

With another tour under his belt and a new album on the way, Josh Ritter isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

This weekend, the singer-songwriter will be returning to Alaska for the final two shows on his acoustic tour highlighting small towns in the Northwest.

“I love playing music and along with that is the chance to go to some amazing places,” said Ritter. “I love playing big towns … but something about playing in places that sometimes, a lot of people don’t get to — and you really get a chance to see certain places that you don’t get to otherwise.”

The self-taught musician has released nine studio albums and five live albums during his career that spans over two decades. His 2013 album “The Beast in Its Tracks” debuted at No. 22 on the Billboard 200.

Ritter’s seamless mix of folk-rock and gospel with thoughtful lyrics makes him stand out. In 2006, Paste Magazine listed him as one of the greatest living songwriters. His most recent album, “Gathering,” is a soothing blend of songs, perfect for a long drive or a night in.

Ritter has made three previous visits to the 49th state — all of which have been in the wintertime. He grew up in northern Idaho, and Alaska’s weather reminds him of his small-town roots.

“Being on the road and getting the chance to go out and see the country and play these songs, which are so important to me, and share these nights with people who have made the sacrifice to come to a show … that’s such an amazing, special thing,” said Ritter.

Typically, Ritter is joined on tour by his band members, who make up The Royal City Band, but for his acoustic tour, he’ll share the stage only with longtime bandmate Zachariah Hickman.

His performances in Alaska will highlight some of his older music from perfectly polished albums like “The Animal Years” and “So Runs The World Away,” as well as some new material that he’s been working on. Ritter says fans should expect a new record out in April of this year.

“When I first started making records, I was selling them at open mics,” said Ritter. “I was so blown away by the miracle — that someone would want to buy a record, that (they) would want to spend more time with the songs. It really does seem like a miracle.”

Ritter’s Small Town City Tour kicked off in late September in Flagstaff, Arizona; the final show will be at the Vagabond Blues in Palmer, which is sold out.

Anna Tivel, Portland-based singer-songwriter, will open for Ritter’s Anchorage show.

Josh Ritter

With Anna Tivel opening

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12

Where: Discovery Theatre in Anchorage

Tickets: $49.25 at centertix.com

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