Ruarri Joseph
Featured Tours

Ruarri Joseph, Liverpool presents

Ruarri Joseph
Monday 22nd November
Mello Mello, Liverpool
£7 adv

2010 will see the return of Ruarri Joseph, the talented young troubadour who had somewhat of a turbulent 2009. The indie-folk sensation, often likened to Tom Waits, Cat Stevens and even Dylan, will be releasing his much anticipated fourth record, Shoulder to the Wheel, later this year, a project that very nearly didn’t happen. Side tracked by family life for almost a year he found that when he returned to his studio – his garden shed – most of the equipment was either rusted or mouldy, “I had to borrow a lot of stuff this time round” he quips.

Undaunted by such inconveniences, Ruarri decided it was time for a new sound. His latest offering showcases his subtlety in a way not heard before. His rich baritone voice floating right out of the speakers and into your soul, the lyrics possessing a wisdom that wouldn’t seem out of place next to Johnny Cash or Joni Mitchell, there’s no doubt that this is a performer set to be around for years to come.

The highs and lows of the past year are reflected in the album: he had to abandon a tour mid-way when he heard the news that his stepson needed to have major brain surgery, right when his wife was expecting a baby. The Joseph clan, with newly born Harper, decamped to Bristol’s Frenchay hospital for a nail biting few weeks, after which they returned home to be together for the recovery. On top of all this, there was also a tragic loss in the family, his aunty Kate, to whom the album is now dedicated.

Yet despite this heavy backdrop, the album isn’t dark, instead it strikes a reflective note, digging out the positives from seemingly impossible situations. In An Orchard For an Apple the singer professes, “I threw myself in at the deep end from the highest, darkest height, but that’s alright”. The gorgeously sung Severed Dreams confesses, “I got your back and you got mine, all we lacked was space and time”, the harmonious guitar parts and the insisting piano lifting the listener up in spite of the sorrow. It captures perfectly the singer’s presence at this moment in time; Assured and optimistic.

Being philosophical about the twists and turns life can take, is a legacy from his childhood. His dad, an alcoholic microbiologist, was prone to constructing suicide traps around the house. Eventually his mum, a practising witch, decided enough was enough and took her two sons to live in an outback town full of churches in New Zealand.

Ruarri didn’t find God, but he did find out that he wanted to be a musician and so as soon as he could at the age of 16, he came back to England on his own, with a bag of clothes, his guitar and a head full of ideas. While he worked on material and muscled his way into the industry, though open mic and support slots, he lived in a shabby London flat, with a heroin addict prone to stealing his possessions. A couple of years later, when his girlfriend found out she was pregnant, Ruarri moved to Cornwall to become a teenage dad. Despite his responsibilities, which involved taking on a series of dreary jobs, Ruarri’s ambitions were undented and he continued coming up with new material and gigging around the circuit.

In 2007, his talent and hard work was recognized when Ruarri was signed to Atlantic. After a heady year, Ruarri decided a major label wasn’t for him. He wanted to stay true to his music and so left before completion of the now lost “2nd album” to set up his own label, PIP which released his critically acclaimed Both Sides of the Coin, the album he was promoting when he received the bad news about his eldest son.

It seems the break from music has allowed the artist to nurture a maturity unmatched by so many so-called singer songwriters, and defy any pigeon holing so set upon him by an industry lacking in imagination. He is here for the long run and appears he won’t be beaten down by anything. In his own words from a new song, “Every corner shouts to spin on my heels but I’m far too stubborn with needs that must so 1…2…3…keep on strolling.”

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