Before he became a fancy, world renowned, genre-bending (but surprisingly short) fellow, Beck was actually quite a folky fellow at heart (but still surprisingly short), as can be heard on his nifty 'One foot in the grave' album on tiny K Records. Or if you happened to be listening to a certain LA pirate radio station back in 1995, you might have heard him cover some Woody Guthrie tunes. But I digress.
Anyhow, the first time I heard Joseph Arthur, thanks to my friend Chris, I immediately thought of the acoustic portions of Beck's earlier folky sound, but more polished (just enough) and more melodic. On occasion, Arthur also throws in some electronic overtones reminiscent of what Beth Orton does on "Galaxy of Emptiness" off her first album. In his live shows, he typically appears on stage with acoustic guitar, harmonica, and a loop machine which he uses to create rhythm tracks (by tapping against the shell and neck of his guitar) and overdubs of his voice - all on the fly. I have never seen one person create such an amazing orchestration of sound with such a minimal quantity of instrumentation. While I enjoy his albums, they almost seem bland in comparison to the energy he throws into his live shows.
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