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2011 Gigography

Here is the list of concerts by Joseph Arthur in 2011 *:

2011-01-01 City Winery, New York, NY USA 
2011-01-14 The Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA USA
2011-01-15 City Winery, New York, NY USA
2011-01-20 The Watercolor Café, Larchmont, NY USA
2011-01-21 The Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA USA
2011-01-28 WDST Radio, Woodstock, NY USA
2011-01-28 Club Helsinki, Hudson, NY USA
2011-02-03 City Winery, New York, NY USA 
2011-02-05 City Winery, New York, NY USA
2011-02-08 Bootleg Theater , Los Angeles, CA USA 
2011-02-15 Bootleg Theater , Los Angeles, CA USA 
2011-02-22 Bootleg Theater , Los Angeles, CA USA
2011-02-24 World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA USA 
2011-03-01 Bootleg Theater , Los Angeles, CA USA
2011-03-21 City Winery, New York, NY USA
2011-03-26 Live @ Drew's, Ringwood, NJ USA 
2011-03-31 RTHK, Hong-Kong China
2011-03-31 Hidden Agenda Live House, Hong Kong China
2011-04-01 Saffron on the Peak, Hong Kong China
2011-04-01 Culture Club Gallery, Hong Kong China
2011-04-02 Blue Frog, Macao China
2011-04-04 Skylark Lounge, Hong Kong China
2011-04-08 Yu Gong Yi Shan, Beijing China
2011-04-09 LUNE, Shanghai China
2011-04-14 Venice Sound Stage, Marina del Rey, CA USA
2011-04-17 Coachella Festival, Indio, CA USA
2011-04-18 School Night! at Bardot, Hollywood, CA USA
2011-04-22 Byron Bay Bluefest, Byron Bay Australia
2011-04-23 Grassroots Festival, Auckland New Zealand
2011-04-27 Northcote Social Club, Melbourne Australia
2011-04-29 The Vanguard, Sidney Australia
2011-05-02 Band on the Wall, Manchester UK 
2011-05-03 The Louisiana, Bristol UK 
2011-05-04 Brighton Ballroom, Brighton UK 
2011-05-05 Bush Hall, London UK 
2011-05-06 Paradiso, Amsterdam Netherlands 
2011-05-07 Roepaen, Ottersum Netherlands 
2011-05-08 LantarenVenster, Rotterdam Netherlands 
2011-05-10 Café Charbon, Nevers France 
2011-05-11 Le Cargo, Paris France 
2011-05-11 Alhambra, Paris France 
2011-05-12 L'Echonova, Vannes France 
2011-05-14 Cirque Royal, Brussels Belgium 
2011-05-15 Le Grand Mix, Tourcoing France 
2011-05-17 Centre Culturel Paul Bailliart, Massy France 
2011-05-18 La Chapelle (Les Trinitaires), Metz France 
2011-05-19 Le Fil, Saint-Etienne France 
2011-05-20 Le Poste à Galène, Marseille France 
2011-05-21 Oméga Live, Toulon France 
2011-05-23 El Lokal, Zurich Switzerland 
2011-05-26 Karlstorbahnhof, Heidelberg Germany 
2011-05-27 The Magnet Club, Berlin Germany 
2011-05-28 GEBÄUDE 9, Köln Germany 
2011-05-29 Brotfabrik, Frankfurt Germany 
2011-05-30 Schocken, Stuttgart Germany 
2011-05-31 Dachauer Kultur-Schranne, Dachau Germany 
2011-06-03 WFUV Radio, New York, NY USA 
2011-06-07 WNYC Radio, New York, NY USA 
2011-06-09 Gershwin Hotel, New York, NY USA
2011-06-11 Looney Tunes, New York, NY USA
2011-06-12 The Living Room, New York, NY USA
2011-06-13 The Living Room, New York, NY USA
2011-06-14 The Living Room, New York, NY USA
2011-06-15 The Living Room, New York, NY USA
2011-06-16 Sirius Radio, New York, NY USA
2011-06-16 The Living Room, New York, NY USA 
2011-06-17 World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA USA 
2011-06-17 The Living Room, New York, NY USA
2011-06-18 The Living Room, New York, NY USA
2011-06-19 The Living Room, New York, NY USA
2011-06-20 The Living Room, New York, NY USA
2011-06-21 The Living Room, New York, NY USA
2011-06-30 City Winery, New York, NY USA
2011-07-05 Sirius Radio, New York, NY USA 
2011-07-08 98.5 FM Radio, Montréal, QC Canada 
2011-07-08 Festival d’été, Quebec, QC Canada
2011-07-09 Radio Canada, Montreal Canada 
2011-07-14 Terminal 5, New York, NY USA
2011-07-15 Iota Club & Cafe, Arlington, VA USA
2011-07-16 Rams Head Tavern, Annapolis, MD USA
2011-07-20 Jimmy Fallon Show, New York, NY USA 
2011-07-22 XPoNential Music Festival, Camden, NJ USA
2011-07-23 Calgary Folk Festival, Calgary, AB Canada
2011-07-24 Calgary Folk Festival, Calgary, AB Canada
2011-07-29 Osheaga Festival, Montreal, QC Canada
2011-08-02 The Dakota Tavern, Toronto, ON Canada
2011-08-03 The Dakota Tavern, Toronto, ON Canada
2011-08-05 WYEP Radio, Pittsburgh, PA USA 
2011-08-05 Club Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA USA
2011-08-06 WAPS Summit Radio, Akron, OH USA 
2011-08-06 Musica, Akron, OH USA
2011-08-12 Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO USA
2011-08-14 Boulder Theatre , Boulder, CO USA
2011-08-20 Newhoma Festival, Woodland Park, CO USA
2011-08-21 KRCC Radio, Colorado Springs, CO USA 
2011-08-28 Ottawa Folk Festival, Ottawa, ON Canada
2011-09-03 Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI USA
2011-09-04 Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI USA
2011-09-10 * Art Exhibition *, Woodstock, NY USA
2011-09-13 Eddie's Attic, Atlanta, GA USA
2011-09-14 The Grey Eagle, Asheville, NC USA
2011-09-15 The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville, TN USA
2011-09-16 American Songwriter, Nashville, TN USA
2011-09-17 The Kessler, Dallas, TX USA
2011-09-18 Austin City Limits, Austin, TX USA
2011-09-21 Fingerprints , Long Beach, CA USA
2011-09-22 KCRW Radio, Santa Monica, CA USA 
2011-09-22 Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA USA
2011-09-23 GAMH, San Francisco, CA USA 
2011-09-25 The Sights of Sounds, Portland, OR USA
2011-09-25 The Woods, Portland, OR USA 
2011-09-26 Triple Door, Seattle, WA USA
2011-09-27 KEXP Radio, Seattle, WA USA
2011-09-27 Triple Door, Seattle, WA USA
2011-10-02 Mountain Stage, Morgantown, WV USA
2011-10-08 WHBPAC, Westhampton Beach, NY USA
2011-10-10 Manchester Club Academy, Manchester GB
2011-10-11 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London GB
2011-10-13 Strand, Stockholm Sweden
2011-10-14 Brew House, Göteborg Sweden
2011-10-17 Abart, Zurich Switzerland
2011-10-18 Café de la Danse, Paris France
2011-10-19 * Art Exhibition *, Paris France
2011-10-20 Fargo Instore, Paris France
2011-10-20 Galerie Chappe, Paris France
2011-10-20 Galerie Chappe, Paris France
2011-10-21 RTL Radio, Paris France
2011-10-25 * Art Exhibition *, Bielefeld Germany 
2011-11-03 BTR Live Studio, New York, NY USA
2011-11-11 Foley Square, New York, NY USA
2011-11-11 Carnegie Hall , New York, NY USA
2011-11-18 Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL USA
2011-11-18 WXRT Radio, Chicago, IL USA
2011-11-19 Varsity Theater, Minneapolis, MN USA
2011-11-21 MPRadio , Minneapolis, MN USA
2011-11-22 WFPK radio, Louisville, KY USA
2011-11-22 Daytrotter session, Rock Island, IL USA
2011-11-23 WFPK Radio, Louisville, KY USA
2011-11-23 Headliners Music Hall, Louisville, KY USA
2011-11-26 Live @ Drew's, Ringwood, NJ USA
2011-12-01 Grand Théâtre, Québec, QC Canada
2011-12-02 Théâtre Corona, Montréal, QC Canada
2011-12-17 WBAI Radio, New York, NY USA 
2011-12-17 The Bowery Electric, New York, NY USA

If you own an audio / video recording and an "unavailable" concert, thank you kindly send me an email to

* : Here is my source. You should check the amazing work of Xavier & his team !!
The complete JA Gigography is available here :

Updated 2018-04-28

REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - Examiner

With The Graduation Ceremony, Joseph Arthur, the troubadour of digital age folk-pop, contributes to the upper echelon of great break-up albums. Like Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, Beck’s Sea Changeand the Afghan Whigs’ Gentlemen, Arthur’s effort treats the devastation of a failed relationship with maturity rather than mopey self-pity. Sure, there is a healthy dose of woe-is-me self-loathing, but it’s tempered by Arthur’s chronicling of every stage of the emotional fallout with unflinching honesty—denial, anger, despair, and begrudging acceptance.

Opener “Out on a Limb” sets the tone of the song cycle perfectly. The pastiche of a delicately plucked guitar, whispery vocals and sparse piano is the sound of the sucker-punch of a being dumped, the bargaining both with oneself and the former significant other to end the internal desolation. “Fading memories/Blame us too/But that’s alright,” Arthur sings, summing up the sadomasochistic pull to hang onto the past despite the inherent pain.

Arthur frequently eschews obscurity and metaphor for direct terms—“You betrayed me/You were the only one/I let inside” he sings in a hair-thin falsetto in “Watch Our Shadows Run,” while in “Over the Sun,” he bemoans, “When I cheat on you/You’re still all I see,” shouldering the blame he elsewhere casts onto his ex. Such candor does not come across as lazy, but as cathartic and necessary.

Arthur’s trademark conjuring of subtle melodies and lush arrangements from simple instrumentation remains intact. The layering of electric and acoustic guitars, drum loops, strings and keys creates harmonious soundscapes, where noisy competition would have arose in a lesser musician’s hands.

The final trio of songs displays the push toward acceptance. “Gypsy Faded,” arguably the star song here, finds Arthur sing-speaking out of step with the warm musical backing, addressing both his and his former lover’s faults, while also forgiving them. “I do however want to say that I wish you the best/past the anger of betrayal and the need to second guess.” Clearly, some time has passed here and he’s viewing the relationship in a rearview mirror, the implication being that he’s driving forward. “I don’t feel you anymore” he sings in the bridge, completing the connection to Dylan’s “Idiot Wind.”

Follower “Call” catches Arthur in the last brief relapse, desperately hoping his ex will call, while conscious that such contact is not in his best interest. In closer “Love Never Asks You Lie,” Arthur shuts the door on the turmoil he’s endured; it’s no coincidence the album gleans its title from this song. He’ll retain some sentimental affection for his ex, but recognizes without bitterness that he and she simply were not good for one another. It’s no one’s fault; it’s just the way it is.

REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - Blurt Magazine

In the nearly fifteen years or so since his
debut under the tutelage of Peter Gabriel and his Real World Records imprint,
Joseph Arthur has demonstrated a prolific prowess that’s garnered him critical
acclaim that’s resulted in only shadow awareness among the masses. Born in Ohio but now based in Brooklyn,
Arthur’s proven himself one of modern music’s more imaginative iconoclasts, an artist whose sumptuous arrangements and sensuous set-ups ensure that each effort more is entrancing than the one before. Arthur’s always possessed the power to seduce his listeners, one reason he was able to release four EPs in the space of four months without wearing out his welcome. His seductive soundscapes possess a seductive allure, proof positive that Gabriel’s mentoring still retains an unshakeable influence on his efforts.

The Graduation Ceremony is Arthur’s most fully realized work to date, an absorbing album that’s beautiful, beguiling and chock full of riveting melodies that find him at the peak of his proficiency.
It’s hard not to be enticed; like his side project, Fistful of Mercy — a like-minded trio that also includes Dhani Harrison and Ben Harper — the songs are often eerie yet accessible and genuinely beautiful beyond description.

That’s readily apparent from the get-go with the spectral sweep of “Out on a Limb” and later as well, with the sparkle and shine that illuminates “Someone to Love” and the bittersweet break-up song “Gypsy Faded.” The dramatic “Almost Blue” is equally inspired, and when Arthur tugs on the heartstrings -sample “Horses” and “Face in the Crowd” to soak up his sentiments – the results are nothing less than breathtaking. 
He conveys love’s nuances in a way that seems so unlikely fashion but still so revealing. “When I cheat on you, you’re all I see,” he confesses on the dramatic dirge “Over the Sun.” “I hope you know I love you as much as I need to be free.”

Like all commencements, The Graduation Ceremony offers an ideal place to begin, especially for anyone encountering Arthur’s music for the first time. It’s rare to find music so mesmerizing.


Click on a title to see the tab.

"This is Still My World"
"Over the Sun"
"Face in the Crowd"

REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - AllMusic

AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey

Note : 4 of 5 stars

Having dedicated most of 2010 to his supergroup side project, Fistful of Mercy, Joseph Arthur returns to his solo career with The Graduation Ceremony. “There’s nothing to do in the Midwest but dream,” he sings on the album, which dresses up Arthur’s heartland pop songs with sweeping, atmospheric arrangements. Strings, pianos, synths, and female harmonies all make frequent appearances, adding some swirls of color to what might otherwise be a stark break-up album. 

Arthur is definitely hurting, and the song titles alone provide enough evidence of a relationship gone awry: “Out on a Limb,” “Almost Blue,” “Face in the Crowd,” “Love Never Asks You to Lie.” To cheer himself up, he gets a little help from his friends, leading a three-person band through these 12 songs and enlisting friends like Madi Diazand Liz Phair to sing backup. The result is an album that doesn’t sound as sad as its content. Instead, we’re treated to the sort of elegantly weary, vaguely melancholic music that Ed Harcourt makes, with wistful melodies sung in either a smoky, folksy croon or a high falsetto register. Heartbreak makes for some some long, lonely nights. But it also makes for solid albums, provided you've got the right person in the driver's seat.

REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - QRO Magazine

by Ted Chase  July 29, 2011

Note : 7.4

Calling an artist ‘singer/songwriter’ sounds like it describes the music, but actually really doesn’t – all it tells you is that he or she is a solo artist (who may or may not have a backing band), and that artist sings and writes the songs. That’s true of a lot of musicians out there. Nevertheless, ‘singer/songwriter’ has always had the connotation of a stripped, emotional sound, focused on vocals and one instrument (usually guitar or piano), even when it can encompass more. ‘Singer/songwriter’ in both its looser and tighter meanings has always applied to Joseph Arthur, but it’s the more traditional ways that are found on his return to solo work, The Graduation Ceremony.

For his past two LPs and a string of EPs (QRO EP review), Arthur worked with a backing band, The Lonely Astronauts (also the name of Arthur’s own label), but he has returned to strictly solo (though still on Lonely Astronaut Records) for The Graduation Ceremony. As the album title suggests, the record is focused mainly on the waning days of childhood/adolescence, before going out into that big, bad world. As such, the ‘summer’s end’ emotion of pieces such as opener “Out On a Limb”, “Almost Blue”, “Face In the Crowd”, “Midwest” and others has a definite sad power – but Arthur can also get a little too plaintive and ‘talking about emotions’, such as with “Someone To Love” or “Gypsy Faded” (which has the rather banal line, “Now that I’m blind / I can finally see”). It’s not listening to teenage poetry, but there’s a little bit of that in there.

For his first solo album in a while, Arthur doesn’t necessarily skimp on the instrumentation – “Limb” and “Gypsy” both have strings, while “Almost Blue” goes bigger in its tale of lost childhood. But there are also stripped and intimate pieces, such as the near-hymnal “This Is Still My World” or closer “Love Never Asks You To Lie”. Instead, solo Arthur doesn’t vary his style up as much as in his work with The Lonely Astronauts, sticking to beauty that can be somewhat too lovely at times.

A ‘musician’s musician’, Arthur was discovered by Peter Gabriel, and has a big fan in Michael Stipe (of little band known as R.E.M. – QRO album review). He’s also known for making recordings of his live shows, which are available for purchase immediately following his shows. The Graduation Ceremony isn’t as varied or interesting as some of Arthur’s other work, but it’s still a solid and compelling goodbye to one’s days of youth.

REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - Huffington Post

by Shawn Amos , 05/25/11

Joseph Arthur has been releasing his deeply textured tunes since 1997, when Peter Gabriel discovered him. Full disclosure: I covered Arthur's song "Dear Lord" on my own 2005 album after it kept me together in the days and weeks after my mother's suicide two years earlier.

His songs turn dislocation heavenward and transform isolation into a rendezvous with angels. Joseph Arthur does what only few artists can accomplish: he gives shape and sound to innermost thoughts and conversations that are otherwise unknowable. "The Graduation Ceremony" is another one of those conversations.

Only now, Arthur opens his arms a little wider than usual. Maybe his time with Fistful of Mercy (the one-off group project with Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison) got him digging the idea of surrounding himself with bigger sounds and sharing musical space. Arthur gets the balance of esoterica and catchiness just right.

These are songs worthy of being called your new best friends.

REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - Weekly Alibi

I usually would argue with the idea that “simple is better.” But when it comes to Joseph Arthur's new album, The Graduation Ceremony, it's impossible to disagree. 

Arthur's voice is complimented beautifully by guitar, bass, keyboard, drums and back-up singers. Never once does one instrument overpower another. Instead it’s an artful dance of vocal and instrumental harmony. 

Arthur's range is incredible, and the album is calm yet twinged with despair and heartbreak. 

And just when you think his melancholy is too much, he drops a little note of hopefulness into the mix. (SB) 

REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - No Ripcord

23 May, 2011 - by Juan Edgardo Rodriguez

7 out of 10 

For the past decade, Joseph Arthur has quietly dominated the field of disaffected singer-songwriters without much commercial awareness. When the Ohio native scored a left field hit with Honey & the Moon in 2002, there was talk about him fronting the next generation of new century poets, previously held by other brooding songwriters such as Jeff Buckley and Leonard Cohen. Arthur was the wild card in a race he had already lost by default – Damien Rice was the crowd favorite with his golden voice and tried and true acoustic approach, while Ryan Adams filled that patriotic void left after 9/11 with his impetuous rebellion and sensible heart. David Gray, well, suffered the fate of cult adoration and one hit wonder status.

Arthur proved to be perhaps too unconventional for a wider audience. His personal blend of surrealistic imagery and prophetic holiness undoubtedly puts him on a league of his own. He had the talent of divulging a very relatable posture with his brittle lamentations, but also swanked a chest filled with pedal effects and atmospheric layers like a mad magician. It’s as if he needed to defy the conventions of his own type to achieve personal salvation. In spite of this, he careened into slippery territory once he decided to group the Astronauts, a vanity solo project dressed up as an band where he could indulge on being a rock star with more than a handful of guitar hero gestures and rippling riffs than one could handle.

All these questionable phases came after Arthur gained creative freedom, which had him in a state of flux. After five years, he’s coming back to the elegiac quality of his acoustic work, acknowledging that the true face he wants to display is the one that hides behind his disfigured paintings. Long gone are the days of multifarious mysticism and splashes of spontaneity under an empty canvas; a persona he managed to role-play ingeniously in Come to Where I’m From. He instantly comes to terms in album opener Out on a Limb, a wilted acoustic meditation that has him accepting a failed relationship that will persist in his memory. In Almost Blue, a bluesy chord progression glides alongside a mid-tempo throb, with added details such as a starry backdrop and Arthur’s echoed vocals to enhance it from being just a plaintive ballad. These glum bearings are characteristically his own, except that now he tames these lyrical nuances with a luminous spirit.

If anything, the overall structure of Graduation Ceremony harks back to the calculated arrangements of Nuclear Daydream, in which he decided to tone down his idiosyncrasies to deliver a solid pop record of the same kind as when Lou Reed decided to write Loaded. The production is just as luxuriant – the assembly of a full orchestra adds profundity to Arthur’s sparse compositions. Arthur’s raspy falsetto in This Is Still My World overlap a chorus made out of his own voice, while a loungy bass thump and a few snare fills sustain his see-through finger picking. Watch Our Shadows Run is a gentle response to Our Shadows Will Remain – Arthur announces here comes the sun over a rousing violin build-up in the chorus, announcing his scorn over the one who decided to follow her own shadow. The strings usually leverage the mood, like in medieval-inspired Face In The Crowd, where Arthur's gospel presence cues in accordance with a rising choir.

Arthur approaches linear songwriting with such ease that it’s easy to overlook any significant flaws behind the deftly textured arrangements. With each successive listen – obviate Let’s Just Be – Arthur has begun to favor the benefits of solidity instead of letting loose his boundless ideas. However, more than half the songs exhaust a similar acoustic pattern of the same kind as those heard as back as in Big City Secrets. Even so, Graduation Ceremony is undeniably gorgeous – Arthur displays an emotional openness that hardly ever comes off as contrived or self-pitying. Coming from such impenetrable offerings, Arthur sounds reassured, as if he just inhaled a lungful of fresh air after traversing so many transformative periods. The avant-garde in him may be sorely missed, but the disposition he currently illustrates is the most important of all: himself. 

REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - Montreal Gazette

by Jordan Zivitz

Note : 4 of 5 stars

About a minute into Midwest, a jangly kiss-off to a deadening town where "there's nothing to do . but dream," there's a sharp whistle of feedback that could wake up Akron, Ohio. 

On most of Joseph Arthur's albums, the fleeting squall would barely register, but here it's a jolt amid his uncommon restraint. Arthur has a greater grasp of quality control than the wildly productive multidisciplinary artist is given credit for; still, The Graduation Ceremony is remarkable for its focus, and for being the most delicate gem in a catalogue brimming with spiritual torment. 

The absence of the Lonely Astronauts, Arthur's frequent collaborators of the last few years, means an absence of swagger; in its place is a renewed tenderness that's as powerful as the most malevolent fury Arthur has conjured in the past. 

Podworthy: Out on a Limb



COVERART : The Graduation Ceremony

REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - The Skinny

by Paul Neeson, Thu 26 May 2011

Note : 3 of 5 stars

Returning with his first solo offering since the release of 2006’s Nuclear Daydream, Ohio-based raconteur Joseph Arthur’s sixth studio album charts rather more uplifting, less emotionally weighted waters than past releases. Wholly embracing his country persona, Arthur spins mid-American tales to the backdrop of twinkling piano, swooning strings and a harmony of duets, undershot with an uplifting, at times almost celebratory air.

The dusky waltz of opener Out on a Limb, and tender romance of Horses make for a nice, if somewhat understated start, which is only halted mid way through the album by the rather more bruised and brooding Over the Sun; it’s the album’s strongest track, providing a stark reminder that whilst The Graduation Ceremony makes for a perfectly fine addition to Arthur’s catalogue, by his own high standards he can do so much more.

REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - NPR

by Sarah Wardrop, May 15, 2011

Though he's released several EPs and actively explored side projects, the Ohio singer-songwriter hasn't put out a proper solo album since 2006.

Joseph Arthur's 2006 album Nuclear Daydream was the last full-length release under his name alone, but we've been treated to the singer-songwriter's work in other incarnations since then. He's made two albums with his band The Lonely Astronauts, as well as a series of four solo EPs released across four months in 2008. Just last year, he put out an album with the trio Fistful of Mercy, featuring Arthur, Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison.

That varied span of work mirrors the career Arthur has built as a "triple threat" artist since the mid-'90s, bridging music, poetry and painting with prolific creativity and unyielding inventiveness. He's even opened a gallery, the Museum of Modern Arthur (now online only). None of those endeavors suggest that "restraint" is part of his vocabulary.

But if there ever was a Joseph Arthur project to dispute that claim, it's his new album, The Graduation Ceremony, out May 24. From the first finger-picked notes of "Out on a Limb," it's clear that Arthur's goal is to keep things simple in both process and sound. Even with full orchestration (guitars, bass, strings, keys, Jim Keltner on drums and Liz Phair on backing vocals), there's an intentional sparseness at work. As with much of Joseph's musical and visual work, layers — however delicate — create depth, not excess.

Restraint in subject matter is another story, as Arthur adds no filter to reflections on a relationship's ebb, flow and end. With his vocal range in fine form, moving from Greg Brown-esque growl to winding falsetto, listening is an almost tactile experience. (Try to not react to the opening line of "Watch Our Shadows Run," in which Arthur sings in full falsetto, "You betrayed me.")

Still, dark ruminations aren't the only color in the album's musical palette. "Midwest" invites listeners to clap along, dream and turn up the distortion, and the sun appears repeatedly throughout The Graduation Ceremony, including in the soaring chorus of "Over the Sun." (That said, the tune also features the line, "When I cheat on you, you're still all I see.")

Whether "Over the Sun" is a sequel to his 2000 hit "In the Sun," only Arthur knows for sure. But his catalog rarely treads the same ground twice, and The Graduation Ceremony proves it by exploring another artful dimension entirely.


REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - Modern Rock Review

June 2, 2011
by Leah Della Croce

By Jo, he’s done it again! Lanky American rocker Joseph Arthurreturns with his newest studio album, The Graduation Ceremony, which was released on May 23rd via Lonely Astronaut Records, Arthur’s own label. Following a successful album and tour with his newly formed supergroup, Fistful of Mercy, alongside surf-rocker Ben Harper and Beatles offspring Dhani Harrison, it has clearly been a productive year for the Ohio native. The Graduation Ceremony is yet another one of his recent successes.

The album opens with “Out On a Limb”, which I had the great privilege of hearing performed live last summer during Arthur’s Sellersville (PA) concert. “Out On A Limb” hearkens back to his “Redemption’s Son”-era songs; this song sounds like a hybrid between the tender love songs “Honey and the Moon” and “Echo Park”-

“Some time, no matter when / I wanna see you, see you again…”

Arthur’s warm vocals, backed with piano and acoustic guitar, further enhance the delicate beauty of the song and its lyrics.

“Horses” is another soft beauty, reminiscent of Arthur’s earlier, softer songs. “See how the horses run / Until the winter comes,” sings Arthur; the percussion layered beneath his vocals do indeed sound like horses’ hooves, weaving in and out of the intricate guitar melody. Arthur skillfully loops electric guitar and strings at the song’s coda.

“Almost Blue” is decidedly more rock than its predecessors. Arthur employs a distinct organ melody in the beginning of the song, rather similar to that in Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” The steady beat of the percussion climaxes in the chorus, along with electric guitar and layered vocals. “No, you’re never going back again / Until you’re blue,” Arthur sings.

“In the time of my dying / I was making promises I couldn’t keep / Lying to you, you and me / Held by my addiction…”

Arthur mourns in “Someone to Love”, a possible reference to his former substance abuse. Arthur is backed on this song by the wispy, ethereal vocals of Liz Phair. “You gotta let somebody into your heart.”

“You betrayed me / You were the only one I let inside…”

These first lines of “Watch Our Shadows Run” deliver a blow straight to the heart, eulogizing a poisoned relationship. The majority of the the song is performed in a wavering falsetto, which at times sounds more like a whisper. “Here comes the sun / Watch our shadows run,” sings Arthur, beneath a breathtaking layer of strings.

“This Is Still My World” couples soft guitar and vocals with a looped, blippy digital backbeat . “Over the Sun”, the apologetic ballad of a cheater, relies heavily on piano and Arthur’s strong vocals. “I hope you know / I loved you / As much as I need to be free,” he guiltily concedes.

“Face In the Crowd”, at first listen, sounds like a country song- the underlying violin melody gives the song a soft, decided twang. By the second verse, however, a sparse Tom Waits-esque piano tune quickly changes the mood; it is clear that there is nothing country about this song. It is, following in true Joseph Arthur fashion, an elegantly arranged, lyrically beautiful song about wanting to be noticed and feeling alone.

“There’s nothing to do in the Midwest but dream”, Arthur proclaims in the appropriately titled “Midwest”. The layering of Arthur’s natural voice and his falsetto layer gorgeously over one another, along with a robust electric guitar melody and the steady beat of hand claps. At just under three minutes, it is the shortest song on the album; the majority of the songs clock in at around four to four and a half minutes long.

“I’m getting over it though / You are fading from my view too / And I hope you will be gone as I have been gone for you…”

These lines concisely summarize “Gypsy Faded”, an ode to a failed relationship and the emotional wreckage that has been left in its wake.

“Call”, the penultimate track, is a stirring appeal to a companion. “I’ve been your friend / And I need you now”, Arthur implores, joined yet again with his acoustic guitar. “Sometimes friends rust, when they forget how to trust / We hurt the most the ones we truly love.” As per usual, Arthur finds a way to take hackneyed subject matter like betrayal and uncertainty and breathe new life into them with his lyrics.

“Love Never Asks You To Lie”, the album’s closer, was released on Valentine’s Day, very appropriately; it is very obviously a love song, and a gorgeous one. “There is never gonna be another you and me,” Arthur sings, softly. He is backed yet again with Liz Phair’s breathy vocals, and “Honey and the Moon”-esque acoustics.

Each of Arthur’s previous albums has possessed a distinct personality of its own. The Graduation Ceremonyseems to be a hybrid of some of these earlier elements; namely, the soft vocals present on the majority of theJunkyard Hearts EP collection, the acoustics of Nuclear Daydream, and rock elements of his 2008 EPs Crazy Rain and Could We Survive.

Originally entitled “The Ballad of Boogie Christ”, The Graduation Ceremony is a carefully crafted confection, entirely free from pretense, and full of distinctive warmth. Joseph Arthur, as a solo artist, is “the whole package” all by himself; his skills as lyricist, singer, musician, painter, and performer make him a force to be reckoned with.

REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - Glide Magazine

June 8, 2011 by Gabriel Scheer

Some albums grow on a person – making you like them with repeated listenings. When that happens I often wonder whether I actually like the album and it just took me a while to appreciate it, or whether repetition and subsequent familiarity are simply masquerading as actual appreciation. Other albums, though, grab one immediately with their emotional poignancy. Is that the fact that timing and emotional state of the listener are simply perfect for the musical offering? Or more that some musicians simply have a gift of connecting powerfully, and quickly, through their music?

Regardless of the reason, Joseph Arthur’s new album, The Graduation Ceremony, falls into the latter group. It grabs the listener from the start with its emotional immediacy, the flow from one beautifully-crafted song to the next. It doesn’t break new ground, specifically; long-time appreciators of Joseph Arthur will find much here reminiscent of past work. For example, the album’s second track bears beautiful memory (and nearly a guitar riff) of his earlier work “Honey and the Moon,” from Redemption’s Son; that song, by this writer’s ear, is a true gem of melodic, folk-inspired pop, and “Horses” successfully follows in its footsteps.

The album is an easy listen, start to finish; it’s beautiful as background music, but is also a great lyrical exploration. Standout tracks include the gorgeous “This Is Still My World,” the atmospheric “Over the Sun,” and “Love Never Asks You To Lie.”

Yer Only Job (XPN 2011 Version)

Yer Only Job (XPN 2011 Version)

After Joseph played at the WXPN music festival, XPN Music Director and Afternoon drive time host Dan Reed suggested to Joe that he record the song "Yer Only Job", and Joe did just that. 

He recorded the song on the road on his laptop and sent it to XPN. 

As Joseph says about the song and his recording of it: “the future of the music biz for better or for worse. Back to slinging songs out of your cyber trunk on the actual road.” 

REVIEW : The Graduation Ceremony - Filter Magazine

FILTER Grade: 71%

By Marissa R. Moss on May 24, 2011

I first came across Joseph Arthur around the time of his 2004 album Our Shadows Will Remain, his songs providing solace during a period that Sal Paradise might describe as “the miserably weary split-up and my feeling that everything was dead.” And that’s a lot of what Arthur is: confessional, weary and able to garner both critical praise and sarcastic disdain in one breath. 

On The Graduation Ceremony, Arthur is still singing about miserably weary split-ups with lines like “You left me homeless in my home” (on “Horses”) and “I loved you as much as the night is long” (from “Over the Sun”). But there’s no revelation in words or progress, though “Gypsy Faded” and “Out on a Limb” are impressively constructed. Arthur’s been compared to Dylan, but while Dylan was able to wince through pain, you get the impression Arthur’s response might be less subtle. Nuance is an art, just not Arthur.

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INTERVIEW : 2011 Troubadour from another world (by Michelle Dai)


2004-12-03 - Twist & Shout Instore , Denver

Tracklist :

leave us alone
after the gold rush (neil young cover)
someone to love
moon in the skull
favorite girl
echo park
all of our hands

2004-12-03 T&S VIDEO


2011-12-17 - Occupy Wall Street D17, WBAI Radio, NYC

On Stage :

A noisy performance to support the OWS Movement, with Kraig Garret Johnson and an unknown  drummer.

Setlist :

we stand as one
temporary people - travels are equals
in the sun - my only job

Recording :

DownLoad 2011-12-17 OWS D17

Poster :


2005-03-24 - KUT Radio session

Tracklist :

echo park
she paints me gold
a smile that explodes
i donated myself to the mexican army

2005-03-24 - KUT


2004-09-25 - The Raleigh Memorial, Raleigh

Tracklist :

find what you need
leave us alone
devil's broom
blue lips
i am
all of our hands
can't exist
in the sun

2004-09-25 Raleigh


2010-08-26 - FOM - KCRW Radio, Santa Monica

Tracklist :

in vain or true
as i call you down
father's son
fistful of mercy
30 bones
restore me
things go 'round
with whom you belong

2010-08-26 FOM KCRW