For the Fountains

by Erik Ritland

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In the last two years I've written over two albums worth of material. For the Fountains are some highlights from this prolific time. They're just demos. This compilation will self-destruct in 30 days.

The closing months of 2012 found me at a musical lull. After playing shows regularly for almost ten years I hadn't gigged in over 11 months. The few songs I had written in that time felt uninspired. I needed something to get me going again. 

That something turned out to be a few conversations with Marshall Nystrom, one of my best friends and a frequent musical collaborator. Over some beers and otherwise we made plans to record some songs in November. 

After months of floundering I completed ten songs in a couple short weeks. Writing quickly and with a deadline is one of the only ways for me to get the ambition to actually complete songs. It felt good to get something done. 

Those ten songs from November 2012 tended to be pretty sad. I was going through a hard time with a break up and various problems with my family. I felt lost and alone. Many of the songs reflected it.

I left those off this compilation, though, because I think they need horns and pedal steel guitar to be palatable. Four tracks on For the Fountains are from those sessions, though: “Dark Star,” “Whatever Happened to Freedom,” “Simple Song,” and “Crystal Ball.”

I've already written extensively about “Dark Star” (read my blog about it: and it even has a video ( It's about those special people who have the guts to be themselves. “Whatever Happened to Freedom?” is a protest song inspired by how uninspiring contemporary politics are. The only track here that touches on the sadness of that period is “Simple Song” (“what does it take/simply to go on/forget your mind/and be free”).

“Crystal Ball” is probably my favorite on this collection. I believe it's the only gypsy lust song that begins with a boner joke. Its chord progression and melody are different than stuff I usually write. It's poppier.

In February 2013 I wrote and recorded another ten songs. I was in the awkward position of, uh, breaking up a family. The album's main theme was that I was doing the wrong thing and it could never work out. Turns out I was right.

The entire situation is summed up on the chorus of “Firecracker”: “we're just a firecracker/tossed in a dead end alley/lighting up the darkness/but only for a moment.” Also happens to be one of my catchiest songs.

“It Won't Do Any Good” is not one of my catchiest songs. It's one of those tracks that is more about feel. And Marshall gives it a cool feel with his ethereal guitar playing and well-placed percussion.

A fun country workout featuring banjo from my partner in crime, “Secret In Your Eyes” is explicit about the situation I was in (“he comes home every evening/you lay down by his side/he can tell/'cuz you can't hide/the secret in your eyes”). “That's What I Love About You” isn't terribly inspired but I feel some may dig its cheesiness. Dumping it on a collection of demos that'll only be released for a month is the perfect place for it.

This is my final release before I start releasing songs on Patreon ( For those who don't know, Patreon is a site where you can support people as they work on whatever talent they display. For as little as $2 a month those who sign up receive two fresh, newly written, professionally recorded songs. A couple of my best friends have become patrons so far, and I'm quite grateful to them, but the response has been pretty underwhelming on the whole. Please consider helping me live my dream for less than a latte a month.

Lastly, and most importantly, thanks to each and every person who listens to my songs, read my blogs, visits my website, likes me on Facebook, or sees me on the street and says hi. I love you all and thank you for your continued support.


released November 28, 2014

Erik Ritland - acoustic guitar, harmonica, vocals
Marshall Nystrom - electric and acoustic guitars, piano, slide guitar, percussion, harmony vocals



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Erik Ritland Saint Paul

Rock n' roll. Country western. Blues. Folk. Americana.

The past is never dead. It isn't even past.

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