JOSEPH ARTHUR TO PERFORM
IN ITS ENTIRETY
DURING A LIMITED RUN TOUR
REAL WORLD TO RELEASE 15TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF
REDEMPTION'S SON WITH BONUS MATERIAL ON JUNE 23RD
Anyone who has followed the career of Joseph Arthur since he was personally discovered by Peter Gabriel back in 1997, knows Arthur has never been an artist to look back.
Over the course of his career to date, he's released fourteen albums under his own name, eleven official EP's and has been involved with several high profile side projects including Fistful Of Mercy (with Ben Harper & Dhani Harrison).
However, when it was brought to Arthur's attention that 2017 marked the 15th Anniversary of one of his most beloved albums, Redemption's Son, he decided he wanted to do something to honor the occasion.
Joseph Arthur will also be embarking on a limited run solo tour beginning on June 20th in Boston where he'll play the album from beginning to end.
"I've never done this album from start to finish live," Arthur remarked. "But Redemption's Son was always a special record to me and my fans and this clearly seemed like the right time to do it. As I've been saying recently to my friends, listening to this album again after all of these years has re-inspired me which honestly was a complete surprise."
On June 23rd, Real World Records, will re-issue the original album (with its original artwork) along with nine bonus tracks all of which have been previously unreleased. Redemption's Son 15th Anniversary Edition will be available on 180-gram double LP, double CD, and digitally. It will be the first time the album is available on vinyl ever.
The nine previously unreleased songs now form a "lost album" which Arthur has named Morning Star.
"We decided to turn these tracks into their own album called 'Morning Star' rather than a collection of this that and the other thing," Arthur remarked. "It's a great feeling when the past burps up a gift. Things forgotten and submerged by the vortex of time which reveals its illusions thru a process such as this. First listens of old things are a lot like taking the wrapping paper off a gift. That excited smile comes over you (hopefully) and it's kinda wonderful. But soon you get transported back to the time these things were new and then they become fresh elements to work with. No more a gift but a responsibility. Like if you got a dog for Christmas. What they say about a work of art being never finished but abandoned is accurate. And I learned here that you can essentially un-abandon them. We took these old things and we set out to make something current."
Upon it's original release in 2002, the album received rave reviews on both sides of the pond:
"Joseph Arthur's brilliant third album proves he was worth the wait. 'Redemption's Son exhibits the sure sign of a classic album. The best songs are not nervously loaded at the front. Some of the real gems - the slow, creepy Permission, the unbearably beautiful Favorite Girl and the irresistibly poppy In The Night - emerge nearly an hour into the album.' - The Times (UK)
"...added intimacy without sacrificing dreamy magnetism... _'2000's Come To Where I'm From was a near masterpiece. This time round, Grammy-bagging mixer Tchad Blake has replaced T-Bone Burnett as producer and brought added intimacy without sacrificing dreamy magnetism... Arthur's vocals [are] as much soothing balm as quiet venom. Blake's deft touch makes bedfellows of gentle acoustic guitar and gliding strings - I Would Rather Hide and Termite Song are stunning... If there's really a God, the Super Furries-goosing-up-Cockney Rebel wizardry of In The Night ought to be the FM smash of the summer.'" - Uncut (UK)
"In the current pop singer-songwriter renaissance, Arthur's art stands out as the most emotionally naked and musically ambitious." - Entertainment Weekly (US)
Joseph Arthur - Redemption's Son 15th Anniversary Tour
6/20 - Boston MA - Great Scott
6/21 - Sellersville, PA - Sellersville Theatre 1894
6/23 - New York NY - City Winery
6/24 - Vienna VA - Jammin' Java
6/26 - Evanston IL - SPACE
6/27 - St Paul, MN- Turf Club
6/29 - Cleveland OH - Music Box
7/1 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark
7/11 - Los Angeles CA - Teragram Ballroom
7/12 - San Francisco CA - Brick and Mortar Music Hall
7/14 - Portland OR - Doug Fir Lounge
7/15 - Seattle WA - The Triple Door
Redemption's Son - 15th Anniversary Track Listing
Honey And The Moon
You Could Be In Jail
I Would Rather Hide
Nation Of Slaves
Buy A Bag
You Are The Dark
In The Night
You've Been Loved
Morning Star (Previously Unreleased Tracks)
Pictures Of A Life
Forgive Your Heart
Afraid To Feel
Cinderella Under Glass
# # #
ORIGINAL REDEMPTION'S SON BIO FROM 2002
Even as you read this Joseph Arthur is making another record. Or sculpting or painting or tapping rows of Beat prose onto a PowerBook screen. It might have been two years since his Come To Where I'm From album had reviewers alluding to Kurt Cobain and the great New York songwriters, but Joseph and his ever-generous muse have kept near-daily appointments.
The result, for the moment at least, is Redemption's Son. Consistently inspired, occasionally frazzled, and often startlingly beautiful, it's the kind of record you can build a slow, sustainable love affair with, its rich textures, vulnerability and acute, poetic lyrics guaranteed to slacken jaws and raise goose bumps. Reassuringly, it was made by a man with a self-effacing sense of humour and a complete lack of pretension.
Recorded in various locations over the last two years, the album was mixed by Tchad Blake (Sheryl Crow, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt). Joseph plays most of the instruments himself, but a gold star is also due to Pat Sansone who contributed bass, piano and mellotron parts. Elsewhere, cellist Nadia Lanman appears on Favourite Girl. "Tchad rediscovered it among a bunch of my old recordings," says Joseph.
In truth it's pretty hard to get Joseph to talk about who and what the songs on Redemption's Son are about, perhaps because he feels he's already laid himself bare in their lyrics. "I think vulnerability in art is a really attractive thing," he told Rolling Stone in 2000, "...but it still feels risky to me." His new record, he says, is "honest" and "real. It would be good if people liked the words and thought it was soulful," he adds.
Listening to Redemption's Son, you'll soon recognise themes of dislocation, loss and lost innocence. You should note too, however, that album-closer You've Been Loved was written "for various friends and for myself in reaction to self-pity. It's like you have been loved, so what more do you want?" says Joseph emphatically. He doesn't want your sympathy, just your ears.
All kinds of exquisite details add subtle colour to the album. "Touring Come To Where I'm From I think I developed as a musician a lot," says Joseph "…and that live sampling thing I do (in gigs) is part of this record, too, and hopefully that adds personality and risk. I didn't try and make an art record, but I didn't bend to the commercial realm, either."
Those song lyrics deserve a closer look. Joseph's great at re-jigging simple truths (see I Would Rather Hide's "I know we're all insane when there's no-one else around"), great with simile (witness Honey And The Moon's "we got too much time to kill / like pigeons on my window sill / we hang around") and a dab-hand with black humour (see Favourite Girl's "I've been so happy being unhappy with you"). Unlike the vast majority of his contemporaries, he understands that a truly great song is a deft marriage of music and words, not a slew of cat/bat rhymes clumsily nailed to a tune. Joseph hones his lyrics, and it shows.
The way that he's using and arranging his voice has taken another quantum leap, too. Witness the near-choral backing vocals on the album's title track, the gorgeous falsetto on Innocent World, his deft-phrasing on the timeless-sounding Blue Lips, and the relaxed, Lennon circa # 9 Dream-type vocal hook which introduces September Baby.
One of the most direct songs on the album, perhaps, is You Are The Dark. "The lyrics about tidying up the place and lying down in the clean emptiness are just directly out of my life," says Joseph. "The song's about that person you used to look at to make you feel good, and how when you look at them now they make you feel horrible. It's that simple."
Quizzed about the Jimi Hendrix-like instrumental passage in Blue Lips, meanwhile, Joseph's happy to hold his hands up: "Yeah, Hendrix has been a huge influence on me, and a huge influence on the music. The psychedelic nature of it comes from him, I think." That love of Hendrix (and Nirvana and Crazy Horse) is also evident in the music of Holding The Void, the "power trio" which Joseph has formed with Pat Sansone and drummer Rene Lopez.
Joseph Arthur was born in Akron, Ohio, became a songwriting obsessive in Atlanta, Georgia, and later moved to New York, where he still lives. Circa 1996 he was still a guitar salesman working for the minimum wage at Clark's Music in Atlanta. Soon, however, Joseph would become the first rock artist to sign to Peter Gabriel's Real World label, releasing Big City Secrets in 1996, the seven-song EP Vacancy in 1999, and then the aforementioned Come To Where I'm From which was voted ‘Number One Album of the Year 2000' by Entertainment Weekly and Newsday and ‘Top 10 Album of the Year' by several critics including the New York Times and CMJ. Vacancy's vibrant sleeve design - a collaborative effort by Joseph and his friend Zachary Larner - was Grammy nominated for ‘Best Recording Package'.
In 2000, journalist Stephen Cox quizzed Joseph about his painting, discovering that his favourite artists include William De Kooning, Franz Kline and Basquiat. "Are you exercising demons (in your own painting)?" asked Cox. "Probably to some degree," replied Joseph. "If you're not dulling yourself or anaesthetising yourself you have a lot of raw energy, and if you're young and your demons are still flabby, then there is a lot of working out to do."
Like Big City Secrets, like Vacancy, like Come To Where I'm From, Redemption's Son features sleeve-art by Joseph himself. This time, though, the emphasis is on sculpture. "There's this florist's shop near my apartment," he explains, "and they have the flowers delivered in these big plastic vessels in all kinds of weird shapes. I use them as a canvas and put stuff all over them: toy soldiers, dolls, plastic flies and trash I've found in the street. There're photos of the finished sculptures on the cover."
Redemption's Son is a special, special record which we warmly invite you to explore.