Joseph Arthur was the first American musician signed to Real World Records. Big City Secrets, the 1997 debut album, introduced his experimental folk-rock style and diverse instrumentation, adorning his songs with instruments as varied as hurdy gurdy, corn horn, Venetian xylophone, caxixi, and birimbau.
What made this album unique, though, was Arthur’s unusual singing style, insightful lyrics and eclectic electronic production elements. The album was recorded at Real World Studios and produced by Markus Dravs (Bjork, Coldplay, Mumford and Sons, Arcade Fire).
…a rich, mellow, free-wheeling work…
…it hints at greatness.
The Daily Telegraph (1997) (UK)
Arthur is a troubadour with a twist.
Arthur is a troubadour with a twist. He weaves vivid and richly detailed tales, but he does so with a sense of irony that sets him far apart from the hyper-sensitive competition.
Billboard (1997) (USA)