With his soft, gravelly voice and expressive tremble, singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur gives the impression of a young Stephen Stills practicing a Bowie-like quaver. The voice is Arthur's own, though, pure Ohio sand, soul, and grit, with a hint of theatricality.
In his latest guise, presented at Sellersville Theater on a foggy Thursday night, Arthur was the front man and solo-heavy guitarist of a flower-power trio, with drummer Bill Dobrow (of the Black Crowes and other associations) and famed REM bassist/vocalist Mike Mills.
As a writer, Arthur is part emotive songsmith, part histrionic art-pop purveyor. Since 1997's Big City Secrets, he has refused to stand still, moving through experimental variations on his initial themes. He was part of the calm, semi-superstar trio Fistful of Mercy (with Dhani Harrison and Ben Harper), and he has found success as a painter and a poet ( I Miss the Zoo and Other Poetry Selections was just released).