Album: Lou

Artist: Joseph Arthur

Label: Vanguard

Release Date: May 13, 2014

Joseph Arthur 5-13


The aptly titled Lou, Joseph Arthur’s heartfelt homage to the late Lou Reedis more than a mere tribute alone. After all, Arthur’s own dour, dark and distinctive persona appears to directly emulate his friend Reed’s austere approach. It’s appropriate then that these songs, drawn from Reed’s extensive canon — both solo and as part of the Velvet Underground — are presented in stripped down settings consisting solely of piano and/or guitar, allowing a personal perspective that makes them all the more revealing.

In the revealing liner notes, Arthur describes how he struggled to achieve those ends, but in listening to these surprisingly tender reads of “Walk on the Wild Side,” “NYC Man” and “Pale Blue Eyes,” sadness and sentiment moot much of the cynicism. Even Reed’s most infamous anthem, the daunting “Heroin,” finds its rush of adrenalin teetering between immortality and insanity. Nevertheless, Arthur’s attempt to — in his words — “bring out something unheard before” in order to reveal new perspectives succeeds admirably.

Ultimately, Lou emerges as a humble bow to both the man and the music.

 DOWNLOAD: “Walk on the Wild Side,” “NYC Man,” “Pale Blue Eyes”

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