For most music fans, the term "singer-songwriter" conjures up the image of an artist who stands before audiences armed with nothing more than a guitar and a boatload of sensitivity. Given that Joseph Arthur relies upon both these tools on a regular basis, he can't be called a stereotype buster -- yet his work is far more varied (and compelling) than most of the players commonly grouped beneath this umbrella. Hailing from Akron, Ohio, a community better known for producing tires and early new-wave acts like Devo than for contemporary troubadours, he eventually caught the attention of Peter Gabriel, whose Real World label issued Arthur's 1997 debut, Big City Streets. By the time the impressive 2002 disc Redemption's Son was released, Arthur was capable of moving from traditional folkie fare such as "Dear Lord," replete with a Dylanesque harmonica, to "Nation of Slaves," a doomy rock outing smeared with atmospheric electronics. Currently touring behind a new disc, Our Shadows Will Remain, he's as unpredictable as any guitar-packing, sensitivity-wielding singer-songwriter can be. Imagine that.
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