Ruarri Joseph
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Ruarri Joseph

Newquay, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

Newquay, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
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2007: Tales of Grim and Grit (Atlantic Records)
2009: Both Sides of the Coin (PIP)
2010: Shoulder to the Wheel (ACP)



Following a turbulent 2009, Ruarri Joseph will release a brand new album, ‘Shoulder To The Wheel’, in the UK on November 8th. This will coincide with an extensive UK headline tour, which include a stop-off at The Lexington on November 17th.
Ruarri’s rather peculiar music career began, in part, when his his mother – a practicing witch – relocated her young family from Cornwall to New Zealand, away from his alcoholic father. A childhood was spent living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, where it was common practice to make explosives, drive at fourteen, swim in the ocean and shoot possums. When Ruarri’s family wanted to move to a bigger field, they simply sawed the house in half and took both bits with them.
With a growing love of music, Ruarri headed back to England. He met his wife-to-be at seventeen, and soon found himself a Teenage Dad, working as a nurse for the elderly and mentally ill. Joseph found musical solace gigging in a Jazz Cabaret band, and in 2007 – after buying ten Tom Waits albums to locate the one song he’d heard of – Ruarri stumbled into a solo career, and a Major Label deal. He was, he now concedes, completely unprepared for the music industry, having never really experienced one in his homes of New Zealand and Cornwall. One album and a good deal of critical acclaim later, following support slots with the likes of David Gray, Seth Lakeman and Paolo Nutini (with whom he remains close), Joseph quit his recording contract.
Ruarri returned to his roots, writing songs for the fun of it. His wife helped him found a record label and release a follow-up album, effectively acting as his A&R. Just as the record, ‘Both Sides of The Coin’, started to get going, the campaign was dealt a hammer blow: Ruarri’s son, Alfie, had to undergo emergency brain surgery, while his wife gave birth to their third-born, Harper. ‘Shoulder To The Wheel’, then, was written following the eventual (and full) recovery of Alfie. It is a hopeful record, somewhat unusually shaped by Gospel (or Joseph’s idea of gospel music: like Cobain’s introduction to Punk, Ruarri notes, he is more influenced by the attitudes than the aesthetics). The artwork captures the innocence and hopefulness that Joseph would see in young Harper, and take him back to that New Zealand outback where he grew up. There is a maturity on this record – and a sense of determination, as signalled by the title - that finally reflects Ruarri’s rather extraordinary twenty seven years. Or, as he sings on ‘An Orchard For An Apple’, “I threw myself in at the deep end from the highest, darkest height, but that’s alright.”