Musician Joseph Arthur is a man of many talents. A poet and a painter, he uses his artwork throughout each of his album covers. As a poet, he uses his words to create a wide array of music.
Something must be going right for Arthur. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Packaging for his 1999 album “Vacancy.” His songs have been used in hit TV shows such as “Scrubs,” “True Blood,” “House,” and “The L Word,” and in the movies “Shrek 2,” “The Bourne Identity,” “American Pie 3,” and “Shallow Hal.”
The multi-talented performer will be showcasing his abilities at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Montpelier Arts Center. Arthur will play songs off his new album, “The Ballad of Boogie Christ.”
Putting together “Boogie Christ” was a little different for Arthur. This time around, he went with crowdfunding PledgeMusic — an online direct-to-fan music platform — to support the project.
“I had been resisting using crowdsourcing and crowdfunding for a long time because of pride,” Arthur said. “But I started to see that it was a really good way for an independent artist to promote that they have an album out. Kind of announcing it, in a way. Sort of a marketing avenue as well as a way to raise funds.”
Arthur said what appealed to him the most was the fact that contributors were given items in return for their donations.
“It’s not just asking for money,” Arthur said. “You’re basically selling stuff. It became a creative endeavor of getting incentives together. Through the Pledge campaign, we launched a live album, we launched a poetry book, we launched a DVD, we sold paintings. I mean, it became, in and of itself, a really creative endeavor.”
The idea behind “Boogie Christ” was something Arthur had for a while.
“I wrote this poem called ‘The Ballad of Boogie Christ,’ and I thought that was a pretty interesting character,” Arthur said. “The idea just kind of hit me about a guy who’s on a spiritual journey who’s caught between enlightenment and insanity. I just thought it was fertile, creative ground for spinning a bunch of yarns, aka songs.”
Arthur said he had a lot of poems sitting around, so he decided to make this a poetry-based album.
“[I thought] let’s make this a sort of words-first album,” Arthur said. “The songs sort of became the way to serve the words.”
In the pipeline is a second album to “Boogie Christ,” which will be out in the United States and Canada on Nov. 29. There is a part three, but Arthur isn’t in a rush to push that one out the door.
“There is a part three, but I just don’t know if I want to go right in to releasing it or if I want to move on and do something else for a little while,” Arthur said. “That’ll be like two years of ‘Boogie Christ,’ and I don’t know if I could deal with that. I’ll need to take a ‘Boogie Christ’ break! I could release an act three right away. I have something done, but I might let it sit for a minute and maybe revisit it 10 years down the road or something.”
Whereas Arthur is a man of many talents, he does want fans and audio lovers in general to know that his heart will always belong to music.
“My whole life has been rooted around music,” Arthur said. “The friends I have, the relationships I’ve made, have all come from music. I don’t really know anything else. … I wouldn’t want to really live any other way than to live how I’ve lived. It’s been a really incredible journey.”