Redemption’s Son is the third studio album by Joseph Arthur. The double album was first released in the UK only on May 20, 2002, due to Joseph being dropped by Virgin Records/EMI in the US. Eventually, Enjoy Records picked up the record and released it stateside on November 26, 2002 with a slightly different track listing and alternate artwork. The song “September Baby” was covered by Joseph’s friend Greg Connors, and appeared on Connors’ 2009 album Full Moon Flashlight. Hubcap City’s Bill Taft also features in the song, providing a haunting cornet solo to the song.
Though time had passed since his Real World apprenticeship, the Peter Gabriel influence looms larger than ever on Joseph Arthur‘s third release. In particular, Redemption’s Son achieves a sophisticated marriage of traditional songwriting craft and avant-garde production, a combination that guides Gabriel‘s best work as well. The singer/songwriter foundation is clearer with Arthur, however; many of these tracks grow from a bedrock of acoustic guitar and vocals, with gauzy electronics shimmering across the surface rather than glistening within the fabric of the tune. Aside from a few inspired images, such as his admission that “I’ve been so happy being unhappy with you” in “Favorite Girl,” Arthur‘s writing is steady and workmanlike; by giving prominent position to lines like “I wish I could follow you to the shore of freedom,” from “Honey and the Moon,” he tends to build in the verses toward slightly disappointing resolutions in the choruses. Even so, the sonic range achieved on these tracks, ranging from a filmy folk-rock evocation on “Dear Lord” to the collision of “Strawberry Fields” Mellotron and Duane Eddy twang on “I Would Rather Hide,” suggests that Arthur may have even more promise as a producer than as an artist in years to come.