Music

Trail of Tears

Joseph Arthur's Instinctive Storytelling

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Joseph Arthur
Thurs Dec 9
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside

A yearning to put everything into storage and take off, free from attachments, for parts unknown is most likely a sign of one of two things: frustration, or a burst of creativity. For singer and songwriter Joseph Arthur, it was both. Having severed ties with Real World Records, a home where Arthur never felt welcome (despite the three critically acclaimed yet under-heard albums he released on the label), the Ohio-bred, New York-based singer packed up and followed a wanderlust that eventually landed him in New Orleans. His new album, Our Shadows Will Remain, reflects the journey.

"New York felt so small all of a sudden," says Arthur on his cell phone as he plays backseat driver to a friend while they navigate the unfamiliar streets of Indianapolis. "And I knew I needed a change of scenery in order to make a record [for my new label] Vector." He says he found the search for a new home exciting, "but finding a place to stay when you don't really have a plan is hard."

On the surface, Our Shadows Will Remain is a collection of songs that finds Arthur, more often than ever before, exploring shining pop structures. His Vacancy EP, Come to Where I'm From, and especially his last album, Redemption's Son, increasingly hinted that Arthur was capable of knocking out a smoother, more seamless record without losing any of his vocal or lyrical edge. He's woven a similar thread throughout each product, and again Arthur sings about the familiar--making the same mistakes over and over again, despite having learned his lesson each time. But what was once a simple path is now carpeted with extra hallmarks of awareness, both musically and philosophically. Says Arthur, "Our Shadows Will Remain is not so much a record as it is the story which unfolds as it's played."

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