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 2017-06-21 Sellersville Theatre 1894, Sellersville, PA 
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A nice review of the Sellersville show in Bucks County Herald

Joseph Arthur and Sellersville Theater commemorate mutual 15-year milestones

by SHARON KOZDEN

Maybe Druidical mysticism had something to do with the alignment on June 21, (summer solstice) between Joseph Arthur and the Sellersville Theater, where Arthur returned during a limited-run tour honoring the release of his “Redemption’s Son” 15-year anniversary edition just as the theater celebrates its 15th year.

Shades of Stonehenge mystery or simply coincidence?

A staffer informed me the theater is often called a “listening room,” where approximately 320 people enjoy an intimate setting that includes stage-front tables. Snacks and drinks can be purchased at the bar and enjoyed during the show.

From my vantage table seating, I watched opener Allison Pierce, billed as a “neo traditionalist country chanteuse,” perform with a sweet yet clearly powerful voice. Her solo debut, “Year Of The Rabbit,” recently dropped and was described by NPR’s Stephen Thompson as “a gem ...” Pierce was greeted post-set with enthusiastic applause.

And then there was Joseph. The 45-year old Akron, Ohio, native discovered by Peter Gabriel in 1997 first appeared on my radar in 2000. In fact, it was probably around 2002 when I first saw him perform live at – you guessed it – the Sellersville Theater.

He had an accompanying band then; however, for this concert he performed solo, as he has for some time. Because of his self-possessed and alluring yet laid-back stage presence and force-of-nature self (writer, singer, musician, painter, designer, sculptor), a solo Arthur performance is better suited to my taste.

Arthur has a mission on this tour: performing “Redemption’s Son” for the first time live in its entirety. On June 23, Real World Records re-issued the original work along with nine previously unreleased bonus tracks that will comprise the new “Morning Star.” Arthur said, “It’s a great feeling when the past burps up a gift.”

But on this night, it’s just Joseph. And that’s more than enough. His often gravelly vocal delivery renders the raw honesty and pure emotion of his lyrics even more poignant and potent.

While he easily conversed and bantered with the audience, when he sang, he entered that sacred space where true talent finds its sweet spot. He trusts us to allow him to reach a higher-order introspective level, which results in a musical and artistic delivery that creates a more intense and memorable experience for his fans.

As one longtime fan, the night was magical and mystical with just Joseph. Add the solstice as backdrop, and I found myself wishing the evening’s show could be as long as the day.

Afterward, the affable Arthur engaged with fans in the theater lobby, where I was fortunate enough to have had my photograph taken with him. I’m beyond the age where I need an autograph or feel any awkward or giddy nervousness. It’s enough to be able to say a simple thank you for yet another amazing performance.

When I mentioned I was writing a review of the show, he told me he hoped I’d say something good, then laughed.

I said something good, Joseph.

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Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:31 am
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