It was nearly one year ago that songwriter Adam Arcuragi left Philadelphia and moved to Los Angeles—not to chase Hollywood dreams, but just to get away for a bit. “If you want to, you can be very invisible in Los Angeles. It’s a very good place to hide,” he says with a wry grin.
He moved to Atlanta after that, and New York is coming next. But as he prepares for the release of his sophomore album I Am Become Joy , he says he’s finally centered and ready to commit to music. “I’ve stopped a lot of the bad habits that I’ve developed over the years, in terms of what I was doing to cope with being bored and frustrated and not really having the conviction I needed to believe in what I was doing,” he says. “Now that’s done. I’m ready to do it, just move on and do the next thing.”
Arcuragi has been pursuing music for years, since well before the release of his self-titled 2006 debut. Like that album, I Am Become Joy is a collection of lush, dense tunes that, while somber and heartwrenching at times, is simultaneously joyous and uplifting. With the yearning sounds of the dulcimer and slide guitar accompanied by harmonized choruses and Arcuragi’s soulful and earnest vocals, his music is superficially pleasant, but resonates with depth and meaning.
Arcuragi finished I Am Become Joy nearly three years ago, but he has no problem with the album only now being released. “I think anybody would hope that what they’re doing has an element of timelessness. Not so much that eons and eons from now people will be listening to this record, but you want it to be evocative to people as humans, not as people that are adhering to a specific culture or style,” he says. “Hell, it took James Joyce 17 years to write Finnegans Wake . There’s nothing wrong with taking a little time to do something right.” ■
Thurs., June 25, 9pm. $10. With Gianmarco Cilli + Peasant. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com