Images and article by Bill Kelly
Playing to a packed house at SoHo’s City Winery on St. Patrick’s night, Joseph Arthur painted a richly textured musical weave that entranced the crowd from the first note. Accompanied by Kraig Johnson and artfully layered electronic loops, Arthur created a warm sound that seemed to breathe with the audience. Featuring songs from his most recent release, Redemption City, along with work from his vast repertoire, redemption resonated in Arthur’s work, winding through songs of loss and hope.
Themes of freedom, metaphors of “graduating” from relationships and a sense that we are all in this together surrounds Arthur’s work. During a stripped down version of I Miss The Zoo, Arthur sang of “weed whacker thoughts...” and being a “doctor of regret”. But redemption comes to us all - Arthur intones “let our love take us higher....I hope your road takes you homeward” in Travel As Equals. Songs of surrender and freedom, seemingly diametric ideas that really bring us to the same place. Joseph Arthur’s poetic lyrics know this well; know that as we journey along all of the loss and disappointment of a life are joined with the joy and hope that keeps us whole.
Joseph Arthur somehow manages to seem completely in control of the stage while rambling around between instruments, lyric sheets and an array of electronica at his feet. With two of his paintings in the background, the stage and entire house seemed to be his studio, where he was comfortably working at his art.
Redemption City is available for download on the artist’s website.
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