It was amid this abundance of riches that the Brooklyn-by way of Ohio-native began molding a collection of music under a single narrative thread: The Ballad of Boogie Christ described by Arthur as "a fictionalized character loosely based on my own journey."
“Boogie Christ is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s a big production with horns and soul singers; a psychedelic soul record about redemption and what happens after you find it and lose it. It all came from words and poems like seeds that bloomed into songs which themselves fathered some of the richest music I’ve made in 17 years of putting together records.”
Encompassing sessions put to tape in upstate New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Arthur's own Brooklyn studio, with help from legendary session drummer Jim Keltner, Garth Hudson, Joan Wasser, Ben Harper, Catherine Popper and composer Paul Cantelon, the 11-song album showcases the artist's signature rich storytelling set to a diverse range of rock'n'roll.
Boogie Christ begins with the surprising orchestral pop of "Currency of Love", on which Arthur unveils a passionate croon unlike any vocal performance he's ever given. From there, the album offers epic affirmations on overcoming addiction (the seven-minute closer "All the Old Heroes"), anthems of open-hearted solidarity ("Wait for Your Lights", "It's OK To Be Young/Gone"), and the kinds of slow-burning narratives ("Famous Friends Along the Coast," "I Used To Know How to Walk on Water", and a reimagined, hymn-like version of his standout, “I Miss the Zoo”) that have won Arthur a legion of fans around the globe.
At the center of the project is the autobiographical "King of Cleveland", a classic story song that connects Boogie Christ the character with Arthur the flesh-and-blood artist; "playing blues in the back seats, from biker bars to limousines" -- much like Arthur did in his early professional career in Northeast Ohio.
"I've heard David Bowie talk about how Ziggy Stardust and some other records were the beginnings of screenplays that he just never finished," he says. "I could really see this becoming something deeper and bigger than just an album.”
"Chuck Prophet reminded me that there's always the Great American Novel," he continues. "And that really stuck in my head about Boogie Christ. That's what I've been wanting to achieve with this album. He encouraged me that it was okay to dream big."
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