Joseph Arthur

Joseph Arthur (10:00 PM)

Rosi Golan (9:00 PM)

Thu, September 22, 2011

8:00 pm

$20.00

This event is all ages

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Joseph Arthur - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Joseph Arthur
For every song Joseph Arthur has released in a critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated career that has spanned nine full-length albums and 11 EPs, he’s probably kept three others in the vault for safekeeping. Indeed, Arthur has been known to start working on a new album — or two — while simultaneously trying to finish another.

It was amid this abundance of riches that the Brooklyn-by way of Ohio-native began molding a collection of music under a single narrative thread: The Ballad of Boogie Christ, described by Arthur as “a fictionalized character loosely based on my own journey.”

At first, it was a song here or there, or a set of lyrics with no accompanying music. Then, those songs would get recorded and set aside. They’d get re-recorded and revised. They’d start to make sense in relation to their brothers and sisters, and then they wouldn’t. And pretty soon, more than half-a-decade had flown by and Boogie Christ was no closer to coherency.

“For some reason, I’ve been avoiding finishing this record for a long time,” Arthur says with a laugh. “It’s been an albatross around my neck. I don’t know why, but it has.”

Yet despite its labored birth, The Ballad of Boogie Christ has defied the odds to become another essential cornerstone of Arthur’s robust discography. Encompassing sessions put to tape in upstate New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Arthur’s own Brooklyn studio, the 11-song album showcases the artist’s signature rich storytelling set to a diverse range of rock’n’roll.

“I don’t know that there’s a beginning, middle and end to the story, but there are definitely experiences, situations and perspectives that point in those directions,” says Arthur. “I wanted to let the listener fill in some of the blanks without telling the whole story in a straight-ahead way.”

The album begins with the surprising orchestral pop of “Currency of Love”, on which Arthur unveils a passionate croon unlike any vocal performance he’s ever given. From there, Boogie Christ offers epic affirmations on overcoming addiction (the seven-minute closer “All the Old Heroes”), anthems of open-hearted solidarity (“Wait for Your Lights”, “It’s OK To Be Young/Gone”) and the kinds of slow-burning narratives (“Famous Friends Along the Coast”, “I Used To Know How to Walk on Water” and a reimagined, hymn-like version of his standout, “I Miss the Zoo”) that have won Arthur a legion of fans around the globe.

Songs like “Black Flowers”, “I Used To Know How to Walk on Water” and the title cut were recorded several years ago with help from the Band’s legendary keyboardist Garth Hudson and bassist Catherine Popper (Ryan Adams, Jack White), while newer additions to the track list such as “Currency of Love” and “Saint of Impossible Causes” were crafted in Los Angeles with assistance from Chris Seefried (Fitz & the Tantrums, Lana Del Rey). Among the other guests on Boogie Christ are Ben Harper (Arthur’s bandmate in Fistful of Mercy), session drummer extraordinaire Jim Keltner, Joan As Policewoman leader Joan Wasser and composer Paul Cantelon (Oliver Stone’s W., Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell & the Butterfly).

“There are certain moments on the album that are just pop music and sugary,” Arthur says. “I didn’t want it to be this diatribe of heaviness, and it had been like that sometimes. I definitely wanted moments of relief within it, where you just get a good jam.”

At the center of the project is the autobiographical “King of Cleveland,” a classic story song that connects Boogie Christ the character with Arthur the flesh-and-blood artist. On it, the narrator apprentices alongside a big fish in a small pond, “playing blues in the back seats, from biker bars to limousines” — much like Arthur did in his early professional career in Northeast Ohio. Says Arthur, “He’s just starting to live the life he’s imagined, playing roots boogie in the real America — Ohio.”

“I’ve heard David Bowie talk about how Ziggy Stardust and some other records were the beginnings of screenplays that he just never finished,” he says. “I could really see this becoming something deeper and bigger than just an album.

“Chuck Prophet reminded me that there’s always the Great American Novel,” he continues. “And that really stuck in my head about Boogie Christ. That’s what I’ve been wanting to achieve with this album. He encouraged me that it was okay to dream big.”
Rosi Golan - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Rosi Golan
Rosi Golan didn’t so much choose to be a songwriter as much as it took her over. In many ways, Golan’s songwriting can most closely be likened to a storm, or a weather system that has come and stayed for the last decade of her life. In the years since this weather system has entered her life, it’s changed significantly – gaining elements and force as it travels across the topography of her emotional life. This weather system has reached its most lovely expression on Golan’s sophomore album, Lead Balloon, the culmination of two years, organized around the pain and joy contained within that space.



Unlike most, Golan didn’t dream of live shows and lyrics. At the age of 19, Golan found herself rudderless and unsure, reeling from the simultaneous experiences of both personal and communal tragedy. “My grandmother passed away, and it was not long after September 11th. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life,” Golan explains. “I was having this thought while I was in a car – and a commercial came on for a guitar store.” Shortly thereafter, Golan found herself there, and, never having played before, purchased a guitar for the self-admitted worst reason ever: “I liked the color,” she laughs. It shouldn’t have worked out, but it has.



In the years since that fateful radio tuning, Golan has worked to refine and calibrate her sound, collecting new elements and shaping it in the places she finds herself. The Drifter & The Gypsy, Golan’s first album, generated several songs that were prominently featured on numerous television shows (including One Tree Hill and Private Practice) and in film (Dear John). Golan embarked on a series of tours on the strength of Drifter that sent the Israeli-born Golan traipsing the globe. Lead Balloon was written on breaks from tours over the past two years, Golan can hear the spaces the songs took shape in – there is the bone-damp of London, the constant buzz of Brooklyn, the arid wind of Los Angeles. Building on the success of the friendships that lead to her well-received debut, Golan continued working with many of the songwriters she co-wrote that album with. “Everyone who I co-wrote with has become like family,” says Golan. “Generally, the group of people I write with are people who I have a relationship with, who I keep in touch with. We spend time together outside of writing music together.” The emotional shorthand shared in the context of her friendships imbues the tracks with a warm ease, even if the subject matter lacks it.



If the relationships were what Golan wanted to carry forward on this record, its production was another matter. “I wanted to throw in some wrenches,” says Golan. “And I think those wrenches were thrown by Tony Berg.” Golan credits her producer with reframing her approach to making music. “Every song was its own entity. The only thing that glued the record together was my voice, and maybe the constant of an acoustic guitar.” With no strict structure to the sound of the album, Golan was freed to interpret each song as it came to her, rather than concerning herself as to whether it kept to an overall sound. As a result, the album moves fluidly between genres, containing songs steeped in Americana, clever pop currents running throughout, and thoughtful folk.



As much as Golan may have been working without a conscious idea, in retrospect she realizes there was some governing order to Lead Balloon. It wasn’t until Golan was finished that she realized the polarities contained on the album. If “Lead Balloon” serves as the album’s mission statement, album opener “Paper Tiger” is its contrast, a honey-vocalled kiss-off that chugs along to resolution through strings, triangles and a xylophone. In contrast, the gorgeous “Lead Balloon” borrows from the best of country music, with Golan harmonizing with a mournful lap steel buoyed by its steady beat. “That song came from a bad day I was having,” says Golan. Fortuitously, she was due to meet with co-writer and friend Natalie Hemby. “When we came up with the title ‘lead balloon,’ I thought no matter what happens, I’m pretty sure that’s going to be the title of the record.” The quietly stirring “Everything Is Brilliant” is a series of recollections, followed by its refrain, which serves as both a statement of fact and a wish.



In keeping with the twin polarities Golan sees on the record, there is as much joy on the record as there is pain, and with the output of loss, there is the input of hope. When asked whether the emotional depths reached on this record are ever difficult to plumb or painful, Golan explains that in the writing, there is catharsis. “Once you write the song and put it on the record, you put them out there and let them become somebody else’s. I’m going to see it to its completion, and I’ll send it off, and let it find somebody else.”
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change