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Under 26? Enjoy 50% discount!
An impressive name should always have an equally impressive voice: Willis Earl Beal uses his own vocal specimen as an ultra-dynamic soul instrument, alternately whispering softly and roaring loudly.
His story is exceptional: Beal was raised by his grandmother, served in the army, lived on the streets, started making music, left CDs behind in random places, put his phone number on flyers and sang songs to the people who then phoned him. He then made clever use of our fascination for outsiders to focus attention on his rough-edged debut album Acousmatic Sorcery (2012). It sounds like a mesmerising black mass, with which he, a born seducer, is luring his listeners into dark places.
His unpolished blues mutations betray a weakness for old, crackling blues, authentic soul and his hero Tom Waits. Late last year he released his fourth album Nocturnes. Once again it had tones of loneliness, trauma and squandered love. And yet we immediately believe him when at an end of Coming Through, his duet with Cat Power, he mutters 'don’t worry baby, it's gonna be alright'.
Besides four albums in as many years, Beal’s rampant creativity has also produced drawings and writings. The animated short film Principles of a Protagonist, with drawings and music by his hand, is an interesting introduction to his work!
Warning: live concerts by Willis Earl Beal are always a slightly strange experience. Welcome to the church of nobody!