Pop Hero Arthur Yoria’s Back, and He’s Rescuing Stray Dogs Along the Way

file-sep-09-2-39-41-pm[UPDATED 9/13/16: Had to make a change to the story below, based on some new info; from what we’d been told, we thought Arthur Yoria was only fostering Rita, and that she’d been given to a new forever family, but that’s apparently not the case. Arthur and Rita are still together, and we’re very glad to hear it. Apologies for the misinformation!]

So, it looks like Arthur Yoria has come back home to Houston, and oh, man, am I glad to see it. The last I’d heard from Arthur, back in 2010, he was moving up to Brooklyn to try out his sweet-voiced, sometimes stoner-like pop songwriting chops on the hipsters that dwell there.

And now, six years later, he’s returned to us. He’s been busy in the intervening time, obviously, and what he’s doing right now is pretty awesome, at least in my book. See, Yoria’s been working with a group called the World Animal Awareness Society, specifically their film arm, WAS2S Films, on a documentary about homeless animals called American Strays. His music’s a big part of the soundtrack, with two songs that bookend the film itself, and it sounds very cool.

As part of the documentary, Yoria, director Tom McPhee, and the WA2S Films crew wanted to also shoot a video for “Ruff Life,” the closing song of American Strays, so they headed down to the Sunnyside neighborhood to do some filming. While there, they came across three stray dogs, one of which was friendly and unafraid and decided to hang out with the team as they set up for the video; they quickly decided that she should actually be in the video herself, and after the shoot, Yoria couldn’t bear to leave her behind.

He named her Rita Hayworth, took her home, and for the past year, McPhee and his crew filmed Arthur and Rita as they lived their new life — and while the video for “Ruff Life” is great itself, it’s that second video that really hits harder. Set to the song “SAFE,” it follows the pair as Rita gets healthier and stronger, making their way around Yoria’s once-again-home city.

The video also shines a welcome light on some of the darker corners of our sweaty, raggedy-edged city, as Yoria and Rita roam the back streets, streelight-lit corners, park benches, and beaches. The camera sees parts of Houston most people — even those of us who live here — don’t always see…or if we do, we look away quick to avoid making eye contact.

Of course, I’m a sucker for dogs; my family’s always had at least one dog, and my wife and I have had five over the course of the 15 years we’ve been married. So I’m psyched not only to have Yoria back in town and playing regularly, but also to see him and Rita bonding like this.

Plus, “SAFE” is a great, great, gospel-tinged chunk of rootsy, jangly pop, and I’m always good with that. Here you go with both the videos:

Now, after you’ve watched those (and yeah, maybe teared up a little bit), you can buy both songs, “Ruff Life” and “SAFE,” from CDBaby; the proceeds from either one goes to the World Animal Awareness Society’s Operation Houston Fund.

Oh, and Yoria himself will be playing quite a bit in the next month or so — he’s at Doc Holliday’s (5555 Morningside) next Friday, September 16th, and then will be playing at Yes, Indeed! Music Fest on Saturday, September 17th, at Leon’s Lounge (1006 McGowen) on Monday, September 26th, and at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck on Saturday, October 1st.

Glad to have you back in town, man…

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3 Responses to “Pop Hero Arthur Yoria’s Back, and He’s Rescuing Stray Dogs Along the Way”

  1. Arthur Yoria on September 13th, 2016 at 6:00 am

    I never gave Rita away nor do I have any plans to do so. Nevertheless, thank you so much for covering the story! P

  2. Jeremy Hart on September 13th, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Hey, Arthur — sorry about that; I misunderstood the story attached to the video, apparently… :( Profuse apologies about that — glad you guys are still together! :)

  3. Jeremy Hart on September 13th, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    FYI, I’ve updated the story — again, sorry for the mixup!

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