Justin Arnold

singer-songwriter returns to the valley with new material

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by Trevor Kupfer

J. Arnold, betwixt croons.
J. Arnold, betwixt croons.

After a year away, Justin Arnold is returning to his home stage. Like the best singer-songwriters, Justin has always relied on life stories for his music. And given the tumultuous rollercoaster ride that has been his past year, listeners are in for something special. “The music that I play and that I’ve written in the course of these events has helped me deal with the bad, along with rejoicing the good,” he said. In April of last year, Justin released his debut EP at the Bottle & Barrel. A month later he married Jodie Berseth. In August they reluctantly moved to Thailand. Two weeks later they learned they were pregnant with twins. Jodie came back in December, followed by Justin in January. In February, Justin’s father passed away, and two weeks later their boys (Jack and Clark) were born. In the midst of all this, Justin says he did the only thing he could. His song I Wish is about his father, and includes the lines: “Once upon a time, I didn’t want to be like you. / But I see your face in the mirror, and I realize it’s a pretty good thing to do.” Meanwhile the song Death and Life describes his push-and-pull emotions between his father passing and sons being born. “Those two songs are probably the most difficult I’ve written. I mean, I have songs that I’ve had to play 20-30 times before I could do them in public. Not because I couldn’t remember them, but because I wanted to be able to get through them without breaking down.” While in Thailand, Justin wrote the songs Best Damn Year and One Percent, in his time since returning home he wrote Coded, and before the rollercoaster started, he wrote Long Way Home while walking in Randall Park. A song that now has new meaning since he’s back home, and here to stay.

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