Music News

Joey Arroyo Is... The Storyteller: Color Me Amazed

How do you know when your local band has hit it big in Arizona? Just ask Joey Arroyo, who might point to the fact that this acoustic rock quintet is headlining at one of The Valley's top venues next month.

The Marquee Theatre is usually reserved for national acts passing by on a tour, attracting people from all over Arizona, but the Joey Arroyo band, hopes to have no problem stocking the place with folks who might live in their neighborhood when they take stage on July 3rd. They deserve the success, based on what I heard from their debut record.

Joey Arroyo Is... The Storyteller features seven songs that, if you follow this correctly, tell a story. According to the man himself, it's the first in a series of six Joey Arroyo is... releases that will each delve into a different aspect of the band's creative abilities.

Oh, and are these guys pros at working the media. Their press kit came along with a delightful coloring book and a Crayola pack of eight crayons, essential for every kindergartner's first day of school... So, needless to say, I had the time of my life connect the dots and TRYING to stay inside the lines while soulfully rocking out to the J.A.B.Not that they needed such gimmicks to impress.

All of the songs blend together, from the opener "Dramedy," which deals with the complexities of a relationship -- "...Is this a drama, baby, or is this a simple comedy? We'll have to wait and see..." -- to the album's closing tune "Imaginary Man," making references to daily minutiae and how "Everybody needs something to talk about."

With that, The Joey Arroyo Band have a distinct sound and they let it show. Once the last note of the album hit (which is really more of a fade out) I was left thinking, "That's it? I want MORE!" And it goes by fast, too, with only one song, "Sugar in My Coffee," the best on the album, going over five minutes.

They sound like Jason Mraz without the pandering, and John Mayer without the self-indulgence: A perfect combination of acoustic and electric guitars with every other instrument necessary to bring these musical stories to life.

And the best things is, Joey Arroyo is just a fantastic songwriter. Period. Not a single track from this album felt like a throw-away tune just to fill an album quota. Every song had some kind of meaning, whether existential or rooted to the ground.

If Joey Arroyo Is... The Storyteller is any indication of the next five releases; this group just might become my favorite local act. And that's a bold statement.

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John LaBarbera