Saturday, June 6, 2009

Adam Arcuragi's road to Joy

Adam Arcuragi is a talented folk singer-songwriter from Philadelphia that I was given the heads-up on recently. I'm passing on the good word to you because I've been impressed by Mr. Arcuragi's new album I Am Become Joy, set for release next week. He's got an endearingly rough and sincere edge to his poetic musings that immediately caught and kept my attention for the last couple weeks. His musical style is simple and follows a well-traveled path, with his acoustic guitar as his most common companion, but Arcuragi's music is a more than worthy addition to the folk genre. Joy is his second release, but if you - like me - haven't heard him before, it will serve as an excellent introduction.

The title of the new record might imply a sunny and well...joyful musical disposition, but the songs seem to be dealing more with the process of finding happiness and redemption than the achievement or possession of those same qualities. Arcuragi's tunes are sometimes lonely and melancholy, occasionally upbeat and optimistic, and most often some compelling combination of the two. Though the focus here is squarely on the storytelling, Arcuragi compliments his world-weary voice with some subtle, but welcome, instrumental flourishes like slide guitar, backing vocals, and the occasional horn selection. Both the simple, guitar/vocal numbers and the more fleshed out arrangements are enjoyable, and the small amount of variety goes a long way to providing some depth and overall listenability.

It's difficult to pick favorites from I Am Become Joy, but I recommend the earnest opener "She Comes To Me," the jangly, upbeat "People & Private Music," and the more subdued "The Guns that Bring the Morning Home." Check out MySpace to hear some tunes, or head over to laBlogotheque to see Adam and company perform several songs live and acoustic - which is really a treat. I'll post one below to get you started, the excellent "Bottom of the River" from the new album: