Artist Close-Ups · Reviews

Artist Close Up: James McArthur’s “Burnt Moth” Glows Like Amber In Moonlight

James McArthur’s Burnt Moth is immersive Americana folk music, that leaps from record into listeners mind like whirlpool of nature images. As you wisp through giant, green trees and various crossroads, McArthur’s smokey voice and guitar melodies glow like amber in the moonlight. McArthur’s album feels like a campfire underneath the stars; meant to help you absorb warmth and rest upon the day that has past. As you look into the blaze, your mind goes into that strange hypnotic state, where the fire overtakes your thoughts with its light. In Burnt Moth, that fire comes in the form of guitar melodies. 

A melody is key to a beautiful song, and, for McArthur, it is integral. He treats a melody like the stage for his voice, where he stands upon it not to be above it but with it. The difference lies in that many artists see their voice as a separate piece amongst the many parts of a song. Yet, McArthur has found a partner in the melody, of which he synchronizes his voice to dance with throughout every song. From “Twice A Day” to “No Door”, you feel like McArthur’s smoked, subtle rasp simmer with the melody until they become like a glaze over a meaty steak. Yes, I know that it is a food reference, but, honestly, his instrumental arrangements are edible. They are like dream clouds you wish you could bite into like marshmallows, in hopes that some of his creativity will spread upon you. Because McArthur has such voice that blazes like a quiet, warm fire he comes off paternal in certain songs such as, “What The Day Holds”, “Burnt Moth”, and “Evens On Greens”.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/198191240 James McArthur : Burnt Moth from james mcarthur on Vimeo.

There is a certain calm command that a father figure can have over their child that makes them listen, and, in some ways, McArthur has that. He vocally utters his lyrics like a man displaying his plush dreams and wonders to any listener that would give him an ear. Yet, hearing his visions inspires you like it would a child. Even in his woes, like “Lonely Oak”, he manages to give that mature hopefulness that you associate with parental figures or, at least, wise persona that has grown to understand there is no need to “crumble” in life. This may seem to be an odd conclusion, but it is an essential one that we all learn in time: challenges are meant to challenge, but our spirits are meant to conquer. Whether it be through figurative or literal language, McArthur swims in nuances meant to show that living is not easy, but it can be beautiful. For More Information On James McArthur And To Buy Burnt Moth Click Here