Arthur Alligood is both my friend and a hero of mine. Watching friends press through the vicissitudes of the artistic process—and continue to persist in the craft—is inspiring for me personally. Most of us have or have had visions of professional artistry as something that pays all the grocery-mortgage-doctor-therapist bills even while allowing its practitioners simply to make what they want. Maybe that’s the way for a few folks, but for ninety-nine percent of artists, it just isn’t so. They make what they believe to be good, because they must, and they work to bring it to bear on us, the listeners and viewers, because art isn’t complete until it’s shared.
Arthur recently went into detail about his musical story on The Rabbit Room with Matt Conner, and you should check out the interview (link at the bottom). As for me, I’m excited both that he’s writing—because his writing always comes to me like water in the wilderness—and that he’s still working with producer Mikal Blue. More on that in a minute.
Arthur’s lyricism tends toward the confessional, yawping barbaric and leaning in to whisper by turns. He says the things we all want to admit to ourselves, often unearthing the darknesses we’d rather keep hidden.
Hey, you look different, different from me
I'll find a category and label you with ease
Keep my nose up in the air, my head down in the sand
Ah, my willful ignorance, the foolishness of man
—“The Foolishness of Man”
The Lord is my shepherd
And all I do is want
I chase after everything
Till everything I have lost.
—“The Shadow Can’t Have Me”
In his current season of life, Arthur’s writing heads for more of a storyteller’s country, addressing a second person in the room with tales, consolations, and hopes for open conversation. The new album is called Better Late Than Never. Consider these gems from the demos.
Tell me everything
We’ll stay up all night
Listening to the tapes
Put it on the table
Your lost control
You’ve been running a fever
While your heart grew cold.
—“Broke the Spell”
I see the notes on the page
That’s not what I want to play
I got something else to say
A song for the stubborn fools
Just like me
—“Song for the Stubborn”
Marceline, all your dead daydreams
That you won’t let breathe,
‘Cause you’re scared to see
Yourself on the other side
As for the production, historians of note will recall that Arthur made a record with Mikal Blue back in 2012, winning the grand prize of the Mountain Stage New Song Contest out of over two thousand entries and cashing in on Blue’s experience with Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. That one’s called One Silver Needle, and if you find a CD copy, I’ll trade you something nice for it. It’s out of print, and in my continuing slide toward irrelevancy, I still use CDs.
This time around, Blue is already in the studio with Toad the Wet Sprocket; those who came of age in the 90s will recall the beautiful ache evoked by the album Dulcinea; Toad’s sound was a lynchpin for many of our musical journeys. What this alignment of planets boils down to is Arthur Alligood making a record with Toad the Wet Sprocket as his backing band. It makes sense here; the songs lend themselves to open vistas and clear air. There’s a wonderful amount of breathing room in this music.
This week is your last chance to get in on the ground floor and help make this record. By way of a brief reminder, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform. Thus, if the goal isn’t reached, then zero money goes to the artist. Please check out the Kickstarter page—and Arthur’s interview over at The Rabbit Room—and be a part of this incredible songwriter’s new project.