Experimental folk-rock singer Joseph Arthur appears on this episode of Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. Though Arthur appears solo (as he almost always does), a listener might assume he's backed by a full band. Arthur uses his mastery of digital looping machines, harmonizers and distortion boxes to create a lush, multi-layered background for his songs — culminating with his five-and-a-half-minute spoken-word tune "I Miss the Zoo."
Since being discovered by Peter Gabriel in the late '90s, Arthur has released more than a dozen albums and EPs, while also maintaining a career as a highly regarded visual artist. (The packaging for his 1999 EP Vacancy earned a Grammy nomination.) Recently, Arthur has devoted time to the supergroup Fistful of Mercy, with bandmates Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison. Arthur's latest full-length solo album is titled The Graduation Ceremony.
This show originally aired November 16, 2011.