I heard of Willis Earl Beal late … at least later than all of the indie/hipster music blogs that cause artists to catch on like a quick flame and spread their ashes into the atmosphere before anyone had a chance to know what was coming. It's a very ADD complex with music. Nothing gets a chance to settle, to simmer, to fully sink in … but Beal is separate from all of that. First of all, he doesn't really have an online presence, so the only thing people had to work with was his first album of experimental bedroom recordings, Acousmatic Sorcery. For those who have cable, you might have seen him on “The X Factor.”
But Beal is weird. His interviews boast a vagabond background mixed with rock star arrogance—because he doesn't bullshit. He knows who he is, and he truly doesn't care what anyone thinks, as long as he has room to make music at his own pace. Give the man some room so he can make magic happen. He recently shared a new track from his upcoming record Nobody knows. That song, titled “Too Dry to Cry,” showcases his poignant and forthright lyrics as well as his soulful, ridiculously good vocals. Seriously, this dude has the ferocious authenticity of Robert Johnson with an affinity for slowly slithering into your eardrum like Otis Redding.
Comparisons aside, the guy is prolific. If you haven't seen his performance on “Later … with Jools Holland,” watch it immediately. If it doesn't bring a minor tear to your eye, there's no humanity left in you; all that's left is a shell, a flicker of what used to be a vibrant example of humanity. Okay, I'm being a little dramatic, but it's that good. If his new track is anything to go by, we can expect some great things from his new record. Nobody knows. hits stores September 10. So keep an eye and ear out.