Bands on Bands: Josh Arnoudse (You Won't) on Paul Simon's Graceland


Boston duo You Won’t (Josh Arnoudse and Raky Sastri) have had an incredible year, beginning with the release of their debut album Skeptic Goodbye via Old Flame in February and culminating in a series of critically acclaimed performances at CMJ in October.  Quickly gaining a reputation for dynamic, energetic, and unorthodox live performances, the band leaps off the stage to serenade the audience at close range, and performs on a variety of unorthodox instrumentation (including harmonium, musical saw, and a set of stolen windchimes).

Their sound, which is both full and nuanced, endears them to the audience – like a fun and humorous new friend.  Their eccentric blend of folk and pop penetrates the find and hearts of the audience, carrying blues away and brining a bit of sunshine to even the most cynical and skeptical listeners.   

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Josh Amoudse to discuss another fun, compelling album – one of his favorites – Paul Simon’s Graceland.  Here is what he said about it…
What is your favorite album?
Well, ONE of mah faves is Paul Simon’s Graceland.
Do you remember when you received or purchased the album?
My friend Deanis introduced me to it in college as we mopped the kitchen in our underpants one day…up to that point I only knew “You Can Call Me Al.”
What is your favorite song on the album?
Yeesh if I had to pick one I’d say “The Boy in the Bubble.”
What is it about the song that resonates with you?
I enjoy how Mr. Paul mixes some very mundane technical modern language (“the camera follows us in slo-mo”) with a simple emotional plea (“don’t cry baby don’t cry’).  One of his secret weapons IMHO.
Have you covered a song from the album?
Nay, nay, nay.  As a new and unestablished band we tend to feel that covering legendary artists is a recipe for disaster.  How can your original material compare with something people already know and love so dearly?
What is it about the album that makes it stand out against the band’s other output?
Well, he kind of stole a good chunk of it from South African musicians…not to mention Mexican-American band Los Lobos…but I think I’ve come to terms with that.  There was a recent documentary for the record’s 25th anniversary that shed a lot of light on that whole controversy for me.  Its melodies and rhythms are surprising and undeniable.
Have you ever given a copy of this record to anyone?  What were the circumstances?
Not sure.  Most people know it already of course.  However I will add that Deanis and I came up with a killer dance combo for the bass solo in “Call Me Al”.
Which of the records you’ve performed on is your favorite?
Well, there’s only one- our record, Skeptic Goodbye –  so that makes it easy I suppose!
What is your favorite song on the album and why?
That’s like picking a favorite child of course, but I do have a certain fondness for our song “Ten Years Old” as the shortest tune I have ever written, clocking in at a brisk 1:35.
(Visit the band at one of their online presences:  Then catch them at one of the following dates:
11/30 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s*
12/1 – Brooklyn, NY – Bell House*
12/2 – Portland, ME – Space Gallery*
12/4 – Montreal, QC – La Sala Rossa*
12/5 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground Showcase Lounge*
12/6 – New Haven, CT – Cafe Nine*
12/7 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East Downstairs^
12/8 – Providence, RI – Fete Lounge*
*denotes with Pearl And The Beard, Lucius
^denotes direct support for Pearl And The Beard)