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NewYork Singer/Songwriter Joseph Arthur Performs at Philadelphia's Tin Angel


Prolific musician Joseph Arthur came down from Brooklyn to perform at the Tin Angel last Joseph Arthur performs Friday at Tin Angel.Friday, and he’ll be back again this Friday, the 21st.

I’ve seen Mr. Arthur a few other times – and he’s always a treat.  This is the second time I’ve seen him at Tin Angel… one of my favorite places to see live music in Philly.

Peter Gabriel’s A&R team first discovered Arthur, and he was the first US artist signed to Gabriel’s Real World label back in the 90s.  He then left to join a few independent labels. In 2006, Arthur and his business partners founded Lonely Astronaut Records. So far, Arthur is the only artist on the roster.

For this trip, Kraig Jarret Johnson (Golden Smog, Jayhawks) came down to accompany him. Johnson performs as one of the Lonely Astronauts, the band that occasionally plays with Arthur. Johnson added some great harmonies and guitar to the songs.

Mr. Arthur has a very easygoing way about him – chatting a bit with the audience as he tuned his guitar. He apologized for their late arrival, they hit traffic coming down and got a bit sidetracked when they ran an errand looking for cables for his pedal board.

He spent the next hour and a half playing some new songs, played some requests, which audience members called out. He then played his – switching into a raspy impersonation of a music exec as he said,  “hits”. The include Honey in the Moon, In the Sun. His songs are frequently used in movies and television, most notably the Bourne Identity, Shrek 2, 'House' and True Blood.

One of the things that distinguish Mr. Arthur from his peers is his lyrics – he is a poet, and his songs have some of the most beautiful imagery I’ve ever heard. He’s also an accomplished painter, and sometimes he incorporates that medium into his shows as well.   

Mr. Arthur also performs with Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison (son of George) in the band Fistful of Mercy. NPR named them one of the “best side projects of 2010”. The band will be performing on the Sunday schedule at Coachella this year.   

When coming to see a show at Tin Angel, you have two options if you want decent seats – you can have dinner at Serrano, the restaurant downstairs, or you can get there when doors open, so you can grab one of the stools that line the right wall. The food’s excellent, and I highly recommend starting out with the meze.

Great food, and Joseph Arthur’s wonderful music in a casual, intimate setting – it’s a great way to warm up a chilly weekend.

You can buy tickets for tonight's show from the Tin Angel site.  http://www.tinangel.com/schedule.html

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com