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The Graduation Ceremony

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Editors’ Notes

Ohio native Joseph Arthur is a prolific writer and performer whose dour demeanor in song often obscures his intensity. Arthur may sound like an indifferent broken heart on “Out On a Limb,” but the beauty that coalesces around his vision is palpable. “Horses” is sung with a graceful lift where the background vocals join forces on top of a seamless instrumental backing. “Almost Blue” plays with a noticeable grey shading to the arrangement. “Someone to Love” has a desperate tingle in its vocal as the piano and strings gain momentum. “Watch Our Shadows Run” emulates the synthetic and falsetto arrangements of Mark Hollis. There’s a beautiful brooding to tracks such as “Over the Sun” and “Face In the Crowd.” The album is not unlike an acoustic, chamber-pop version of the Afghan Whigs or the Gutter Twins. Arthur has Greg Dulli’s sense of despair, but his sense of apocalypse is still within reason. There’s even still some pixie dust left for the light-footed “Midwest.”

Customer Reviews

His best work to date

I have listened to this album non-stop for the last few weeks. I am a huge JA fan, and I must say that this album is definitely his best work to date. On top of that, I would have to say it is one of the best albums I have ever heard. Every song is amazing. Standout tracks for me include Midwest, Gypsy Faded, Call, and Over The Sun. Do yourself a favor and buy this album now. This is truly a masterpiece. I always expect great things from Joe, but this album blew my expectations away.

Diamonds in a darkened mine

The Graduation Ceremony finds a very focused and intent Joseph Arthur performing a collection of confident and amazingly beautiful songs. As a long time fan, this album is definitely Joseph's most accessible endeavor. Arthur's signature atmospheric melodies and shadowy lyrics laced with hope and love are all here and glow like diamonds in a darkened mine. If you're new to Joseph Arthur's music, this album is the PERFECT starting place. Light some candles, a stick of incense, sit back and let this thing work it's magic! Then check out the rest of his catalog. You will not be disappointed.

Addicted to this album

I'd never heard of Joseph Arthur until late last night. I sampled the music and bought a couple cuts. Within 20 minutes I bought the whole album. I can't get enough of his musi. He has this Mick Jagger swagger in his voice, but adds intricate harmonies in ways that make my brain dance a happy jig.


Born: September 28, 1971 in Akron, OH

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Ohio native Joseph Arthur was discovered by Peter Gabriel, who signed the folk-rock songwriter to Real World Records in the mid-'90s. Arthur's debut, Big City Secrets, was released in 1997 and went fairly unnoticed, despite an eclectic, brooding sound influenced by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Joe Henry, and the late Jeff Buckley. Gabriel influenced Arthur's music, too, exposing his songwriting to a global palette, roping him into Gabriel's annual WOMAD shows, and giving him a roster of fellow labelmates...
Full Bio
The Graduation Ceremony, Joseph Arthur
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Customer Ratings