Joseph Arthur, Musician and Painter! Who Knew!?!?!?

A week before the show, my concert buddy sent me links to a few Joseph Arthur songs, asking me if I knew of him. A friend of his had recently seen Joe and recommended him to us. There was an upcoming show at Great Scott so we got tickets.

Joseph Arthur

Joseph Arthur

What a unexpected pleasure! 

Caroline Rose opened the show. I saw her once before and enjoyed that opening set, and was looking forward to seeing her in a more intimate venue. She performs with Jer Coons, at whose studio she recorded her recent album, America Religious. She has good stage banter; she told us one story about a honky tonk in Mississippi called Poor Monkey Lounge (although she pronounced it Po’ Monkey) that had me not only laughing but needing to go there soon!!!

Caroline Rose

Caroline Rose

Joseph Arthur is touring with Mike Mills, the bass player and founding member of R.E.M., and Bill Dobrow, a drummer who’s been with The Black Crowes and Rich Robinson’s side project Hookah Brown. They took the stage casually and started playing – after telling us that their van, with all their equipment and merchandise, had not reached Boston. That had to be incredibly stressful for them.

Because I am a newcomer to his music, I don’t know if he played songs that span his career, but I do know that he played at least the title track from his recent album ‘The Ballad of Boogie Christ’.  He’s a terrific songwriter – his lyrics are smart and the music is excellent.



Midway through the set, I noticed a plastic drop cloth being spread on the stage. One of the roadies held up a blank canvas and Joe sang while painting. I got the sense he does this at all his shows. It was fascinating to watch him be able to sing and paint at the same time, with both executed well.

The painting, not finished

The painting, not finished

Mike Mills and Bill Dobrow are both excellent musicians, and support him well.

Mike Mills

Mike Mills

Joe dedicated one song to the memory of Lou Reed, which was touching. Lou was a huge influence on an entire generation of musicians, and it’s nice to see him honored.

The only song of the night that I knew was the first song of the encore, REM’s ‘(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville’, which got most of the crowd singing.

I’d like to see Joe again, after I familiarize myself with his music. He is worth seeing!



About suze72

I've loved the arts all my life... I go to a lot of concerts, take lots of photos and want to share them. Every once in a while I do something other than a concert, too. The Boston area is full of opportunities to indulge my passion - I'd like to help make it yours too!

Posted on December 6, 2013, in concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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