Joseph Arthur was discovered by
Peter Gabriel in the mid-'90s and soon signed to the artist's Real World
Arthur's debut, Big City Secrets, was then released in 1997 and went
practically unnoticed. Not discouraged by industry politics, the native of
Akron, OH, continued to make music and dove into his Earth-inspired abstract
art. His eclectic brooding is similar to the likes of
Joe Henry, and the late
Jeff Buckley, and his time spent with
Gabriel exposed his musical styles to a global palette.
Arthur participated in
Gabriel's annual WOMAD shows and spent the latter part of the '90s on the
road with residency tours in the Northeast and Northwest, which included opening
dates for labelmates
Ben Harper and
Arthur released the seven-song EP Vacancy and received a Grammy nomination
for Best Recording Package, thanks to his design with co-art director Zachary
Larner. Following brief critical acclaim,
Arthur released his sophomore effort, Come to Where I'm From, one year later
on Virgin Records. The album showed
Arthur's musical fondness for basic country-rock and Americana, and he spent
the rest of 2000 headlining club shows across North America and serving as an
opening act for
The. Two years later,
Arthur issued the four-EP series Junkyard Hearts, a precursor to his third
opus, Redemption's Son. North American dates with
Tracy Chapman followed in summer 2003, then one year later the critically
acclaimed Our Shadows Will Remain appeared.
After starting his own label, Lonely Astronaut (distributed by Sony),
Arthur published a collection of his artwork entitled We Almost Made It,
complete with a mostly instrumental accompaniment, The Invisible Parade, in the
spring of 2006. A few months later, fans were greeted with his fifth record,
Nuclear Daydream, as well as a tour that featured
Arthur with a full live band, something he had never done before.
Arthur also provided vocals on "Sublime," from
the Twilight Singers' iTunes-only five-song EP A Stitch in Time. In April
2007, he partnered with his band once again to record Let's Just Be, his second
album with his own label. The following year brought even more material, with
Arthur releasing no less than four EPs during the first seven months of the
year (Could We Survive, Crazy Rain, Vagabond Skies, Foreign Girls) and a full
album, Temporary People, in September.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY - "A dark, Velvet-y set."
STYLUS MAGAZINE - "Watch out for this guy’s next album,
because I can guarantee it will contain a Top 40 hit. Go ahead and listen to him
now so as to impress your friends later."