If you're a solo artist in today's music world, and you're looking to make a name for yourself, you're in for quite the battle. In a time when we're seeing such acts embrace genre mixing, culture marketing, and other tricks to grab someone's attention; the traditional route of busting your tail for a decade or longer is still the best route.
That's what Chicago native and Houston transplant Arthur Yoria has done. For the past ten years he's lived the road life while releasing some of the more engaging singer songwriter tracks you'll hear. On His new release After You, it feels like all of that living and hard work has come full circle. There's a magic to how Yoria crafts a song, and an almost impeccable manner in which he performs his songs. In nine tracks he showcases a sound that's hard not to be drawn to while giving listeners a sound that's far from formulaic, while staying familiar at the same time.
Opening with the playful piano of "Maybe," Yoria quickly adds a lush and twangy guitar alongside a thumpy bass line and minimal percussion to almost strip away the fluff that songs of a lesser caliber would contain. Here, Yoria lets his sweet voice and light instrumentation mix together in a minimalist approach that gives your ears a delightful track that speaks for itself more than an studio trickery ever could. This continues into the lead single, "Wishlist" where the catchy stride and hook filled notes grab a hold of your attention, and the pace never slows down to cause you to listen elsewhere.
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However, by the third track "I Just Want To Sit," that minimal approach should have you realizing that extra instrumentation would only destroy the beauty of what Yoria offers up. Like a woodworker who takes nine months to construct a hand made table, Yoria is at his best when his voice is out front with a small amount of notes in the background like he is here. While he goes a bit more of the full band route with "Mother And Son," it doesn't mean that he's lost focus by any means. The song still holds his vocals at the forefront while piano and drums create a swirl of harmony that only gets fuller when the guitar slides its way onto the song. There's an organ that comes in on the second verse that adds depth without muddying the mix, and proves that this is Yoria at the top of his game.
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Two tracks later, the magic of Yoria's soft voice comes to life on the Misfits cover, "Last Caress." While the horror punk mixed with Elvis like crooning that Glen Danzig always emulated isn't here, what is are these tender notes that take the song to a whole new space. Just an acoustic guitar strumming and picking while Yoria sings the lyrics that normally any teenager would hum along to in a fit of angst, the song just adds to the well-traveled life that Yoria has lead and shows another side to his body of work. That stays true on the following song, "Lagarto," sung entirely in Spanish. There's a combination of grandiose beauty and darkness in the notes while Yoria guides the track's direction with his unmistakable voice. Moments that hop on and off the track where the guitar almost embodies the notes of a spaghetti Western, while symphonic notes dance underneath, offer up a majestic sound that's not what you're expecting, but is certainly welcomed.
While the eight song "Jimmy's In The Ghetto" adds a nice texture to the album, it's the extraordinary sounds of the final track "We Can't Lose" that stands out the most. Incorporating a mix of that minimal approach with abundant notes from multiple instruments, its Yoria's voice that stands above it all like a beacon to a ship lost at sea. No matter what plays in the background, Yoria is in front of it all with his voice as the light, giving the listener so much to embrace, that the song not only closes off an already stellar release, but leaves you wanting a bit more at the same time.
The result is an album from an artist whose put in the time to live just enough to craft something that can stand the test of time in the process. With After You, Arthur Yoria is not only releasing the album his fans have been waiting for, he's also giving them something they can hold onto for a good while after as well. The album, produced by Kelly Doyle, shows how solid of a production job the guitar slinger can do as well. You can stream After You in the usual places when it's released on March 30, or you can pre-order it here. You can hear the album performed in person at Mucky Duck on Saturday, March 31. The 21 & up show will also include sets from Jeff Paxton Jr. and The Tomes. Doors at 9:30 p.m.; tickets $20 to $22.