Quell Records


Record of Life Out June 30, 2015



The Paper Arrows Lead Man Goes It Alone With A Direct, Personal and Vivid New Record

Chicago, IL, 2015 –Joe Goodkin is the founder of the band, Paper Arrows, a popular Chicago-based pop and indie rock band.  You may also know him  as the musician who travels the country performing his award-winning and unique interpretation of The Odyssey—a 30 minute song cycle that adapts Homer’s classic work.

Releasing Record of Life  on Quell Records—a label he launched 8 years ago—this is the first record under his own name. Finding that The Odyssey was generating a lot of interest and reaction that he hadn’t been tapping into with Paper Arrows, Goodkin tried to replicate the emotional, creative and business paradigms from the folk-opera into a more conventional folk/rock/indie release.  

With the city of Chicago serving as a stationary landscape, Goodkin constructs ambient creative guitar soundscapes on Record of LifeUsing one guitar for the record Goodkin layered the sound,  “Up to five times on some tracks”, he said.  “I used a 1963 Gibson ES-125t, which I believe is haunted.”  He explains further, “It seems to have a character of its own.  And I wanted that to come out on the record, almost like a personality, since any noise not my voice was created by that guitar I felt it was like a band mate.  There were also a couple situations where the guitar generated notes I wasn't playing, overtones and undertones, perfectly in tune and complementary.” 

This intensely personal six song EP kicks off with the song “Cat and Dog”. The main theme in this song concerns regret and setting aside that regret and failure in pursuing truth and success.As a nod to his band, the “songs about divorce” referenced is the Paper Arrows song, “Tell the Kids”. “Gray” is the first song written for the album and is a moving contemplation on the fragility of life. During the creative process, Goodkin lost both the dog mentioned in the first verse and his Grandpa, the character in the second verse, making the song that much more poignant.  

“My Friends” is song written about the last Grateful Dead show in 1995 and what happens to childhood friendships as you get older.  The song starts with Goodkin’s  single, subdued voice  which builds into a culmination of eight voices (all Goodkin) singing in choir format.  “Three Ghosts” is a song about seeing three ghosts who had all committed suicide. Goodkin claims the story is true, “Every word of it. It all happened.” The song touches on three different losses that though separated by nearly 20 years still resonated with the artist.  A song about family memories, “As Old As I Am Now”  and  the thoughtful, “Something to Love”  end the album.  “Something to Love” was the last song written for the album.  It ties in The Odyssey and adds resolution to the record.  “And whether it’s rock and roll songs or epic poetry, it comes straight from my heart,” sings Goodkin.  

Goodkin describes his audience, “People who like quiet music.  People who like stories. People who want to cry and be moved.”  Taking general life experiences and then divulging specifics about his life, Goodkin’s fans seem to be affected by his directness and risk-taking.  “To me, being moved by other people is inspiring.”, he said, “Hearing important and moving art.  And the feeling of creating.  It’s more a need than something I’m just inspired to do.”