Joseph Arthur‘s beautiful May release, “The Graduation Ceremony” may have been his first album in three years, but the Akron, Ohio-bred singer/songwriter/painter has already recorded enough material for a possible triple release, and that’s in addition to his forthcoming work on a solo album by Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament.
The prospective “Graduation Ceremony” follow up, which Arthur is already calling “The Ballad of Boogie Christ,” is “probably the most eclectic thing I’ve made,” Arthur says. “I don’t know if it’ll be a single record or a double record or a triple record, but it’s sprawling and experimental and all over the place but in a good way I hope. There’re two aspects to it: a super earthy side, 16 songs that were recorded on 24-track tape with [The Band’s] Garth Hudson playing organ, [Grace Potter & The Nocturnal’s] Catherine Popper on bass and G Whiz and [famed solo-Beatles session player] Jim Keltner on drums. And then there’s this other side where I made it all on my laptop and it’s all digital with spoken word. I don’t know how I’m going to make them work together [but] I’m anxious to get the work out there.”
As for his work with Pearl Jam’s Ament, Arthur — who spent 2010 focused on being a member of Fistful of Mercy with Dhani Harrison and Ben Harper — says the PJ bassist sent him the song “When The Fire Comes” to sing on when Arthur was on tour. “I actually ended up doing that in Zurich in a hotel room right in the middle of the red light district. It’s like my live painting, you can grab energy from your environment.”
Joseph Arthur performs “When The Fire Comes” with 3/5ths of Pearl Jam, Sept. 4, 2011.
“When The Fire Comes,” which Arthur performed at Pearl Jam’s PJ20 festival over Labor Day weekend with Pearl Jam’s Ament, guitarist Mike McCready and drummer Matt Cameron, is slated to be on Ament’s forthcoming record, “While My Heart Beats.” No date has yet been set for the album.
Arthur, meanwhile, is on tour across the U.S. in support of “The Graduation Ceremony” through November.