Come To Where I’m From

Joseph Arthur

Released 11 April 2000

  1. In The Sun
  2. Ashes Everywhere
  3. Chemical
  4. History
  5. Invisible Hands
  6. Cockroach
  7. Exhausted
  8. Eyes On My Back
  9. Tattoo
  10. The Real You
  11. Creation Or A Stain
  12. Speed Of Light

Liner notes

In its pursuit of unearthing previously unheard music from the planet’s four corners, Real World has never ignored Western rock and pop. No-one’s disqualified. And in Akron, Ohio, the label (or, rather Peter Gabriel himself) found Joseph Arthur, a singer-songwriter with high-proof creative juices oozing out of every pore.

2000’s Come To Where I’m From was his second album for the label. Co-produced by the mighty T-Bone Burnett, it’s a dense, attractively claustrophobic record, full of delightful contradictions: unnerving and reassuring, raw and yet meticulously compiled.

The official video for 'In The Sun'
"I wanted to get the songs down in a way that was true to them and true to myself. I really wanted them to have humanity in them. I wanted an element of a gamble in it. I think too much music sounds too contained. I wanted it to sound like it could go out of control at any minute. I didn't want it produced to death." Joseph Arthur
Photo credit: Anton corbijn.

Not content to limit himself to guitar, harmonica and sampling wizardry, Joseph is also a writer, sculptor and painter. His drawings and paintings feature in this album’s artwork, which Joseph co-designed and art directed with Zachary Larner. 1999’s Vacany EP had gained Joseph and Zachary a Grammy nomination for the Best Recording Package.



  • Arthur made his debut three years back; this record is far more accomplished, thanks in great part to the inventive settings conjured up by producer T-Bone Burnett, which switch easily from, for example, the swooning Byrds harmonies and full-on guitars of 'Chemical' to the sparse, dreamy sound of 'Invisible Hands'. His influences are plain enough - Dylan, Waits, Cobain - but by the end of the record, he sounds like nobody but himself; dark, lovelorn and clever. The Observer (UK)
  • Put simply, Joe'’s sickeningly talented. The Independent (UK)
  • This beautiful record …is further proof that the singer-songwriter is alive and inspired…. Mojo (UK)
  • Beautifully produced (T-Bone Burnett, take a bow) and boasting a subtle, imaginative stylistic mix, Joseph Arthur is an American original and head’n’shoulders above the likes of Beck. Uncut (UK)
  • Come To Where I’m From is as tastefully ravaged as its lyrics a scorched landscape of murky atmospherics, unshaven guitars, and – surprise – delicately affecting melodies. Entertainment Weekly (USA)

Further Listening

  • Redemption’s Son

    Joseph Arthur

    Released 10 June 2002

    Joseph Arthur’s third album is a consistently inspired, occasionally frazzled, and often startlingly beautiful album. It's the kind of record with which you can build a slow, sustainable love affair. Its rich textures, vulnerability, and acute, poetic lyrics are guaranteed to slacken jaws and raise goose bumps.
  • Big City Secrets

    Joseph Arthur

    Released 23 June 1997

    On this, Arthur’s 1997 debut, the Ohio singer introduced his experimental folk-rock style and diverse instrumentation, adorning his songs with instruments as varied as hurdy gurdy, corn horn, Venetian xylophone, caxixi, and birimbau.

Further reading

Alan James Creative Bursaries 2019

The English Folk Dance and Song Society have awarded four new bursaries.

7 RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Award nominations for Real World artists

The RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards will take place in Vicar St., Dublin on 24 October 2019.

Riding a wave of emotion: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at WOMAD 1985

David Hutcheon explores the significance of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's iconic show at WOMAD in 1985.

Real World at the British Library Sound Archive

The British Library Archive have been recording artists at the WOMAD Festival for over 30 years.