He's a very intense character that really nails people to the wall with his songs and his way of presenting himself. I've seen him stop unapproachable people dead in their tracks and get them to listen to him, because he's serious as a heart attack, and something about his manner makes them willing to check him out.
After winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest not once but twice (the second time was the overall grand prize) and making several well received and critically lauded CDs, Godfrey wrote a musical play called If I Only Knew Your Name. He was invited by our friend Tim Shriver, the head of the Special Olympics, to write a song for the games. Tim then flew Arthur to Shanghai to sing his Olympic theme "Brave" for the crowd gathered at the gala affair for the esteemed Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics founder. It made me smile to think of my very blue collar Boston friend spending time with Mrs. Desmond Tutu and Bianca Jagger.
The guy has been on a personal quest for a couple of years now that has brought about a really great record of songs about social injustice, songs about people like Charles Bukowski ("The King of Little Magazines") and, ultimately, songs about family. Not Hallmark songs, but naked songs about what we need and are willing to give for it.
Godfrey may be mellowing a few degrees in recent years, but he's digging deeper. The new record Broken Wings was produced by Thomm Jutz, a Nashville guitarist/producer who has made quite a name in the Americana field and is currently on tour with Nanci Griffith. Thomm's played a lot with Arthur, and said he'd produce the record as long as he had final say, and the micro-managerial artist went along, which is a testament to the faith that a lot of us have come to put in Jutz.
Whether or not you've heard Arthur Godfrey's music to date, we urge you to check out Broken Wings. Passion's getting harder to find in music, and this cat's got it in spades.