“Give your love freely to whoever that you please / don’t let nobody tell you ’bout the who you ought to be / and when you get damned in the popular opinion / it’s just another damn of the damns you’re not giving.” Those are some of the latest free-living lyrics — and perhaps the mantra — of Americana artist Josh Ritter, who thoughtfully pens melodic stories and delivers them with a hearty smile. The term singer-songwriter barely conveys Ritter’s literary aptitude, which once compelled him to turn a song concept into a full-fledged novel. A believer in many mediums, the Idaho-raised traveler also churns out artsy music videos like the crowdsourced photo slideshow of fans’ hometowns (including Waynesville) that accompanied his recent single, “Homecoming.” The Steel Wheels open for Ritter at The Orange Peel on Wednesday, May 18, at 9 p.m. $20/$22. theorangepeel.net. Photo by Laura Wilson
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