Saturday, July 19, 2014

Video Of The Week: Joseph Arthur

(As many of you know,) I'm a writer, and I'm a musician. I write my own songs, and I like to re-interpret those of others, particularly when I really love the song and the person who wrote it no longer does it the same way, or no longer can (old age, death) or wants to. And my versions usually differ greatly from the originals.

For years, I'd wanted to cover Lou Reed's Walk On The Wild Side, and this is exactly how I would have done it (so I kind of no longer have nor want to):

Director Ehud Lazin also did a good job of capturing the slow vibe of Joseph Arthur's version, and juxtaposed it with images of today's New York City - not quite the nightlife, excess and cultural hotbed it was in the 1970s, but still a fine place to live, both literally and figuratively, at any time of the day. The low-fi effects just add a bit of a late-1970s/early 1980s touch to the whole thing, with taste and subtlety.

Joseph Arthur hails from Akron, Ohio, but moved to Atlanta to pursue his music career - or so he thought. He was soon picked up by Peter Gabriel's label and moved to Brooklyn, becoming (with the likes of Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - a.k.a. Will Oldham - and Jeffrey Lewis) one of the artists who would - inadvertently - turn it into the hipster haven it is today.

Like many musicians working today, he is involved in many projects, namely the bands RNDM (with Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament) and Fistful Of Mercy with Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison, and also has received some acclaim as a painter and designer. He's made his own album art, which is cool, but opening his own self-serving museum may have been a tad much. In my humble I-operate-a-music-festival-around-my-birthday opinion.

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