– By Yufeng K.
Willis Earl Beal was at one point homeless in Albuquerque, leaving flyers and CDs of his own recorded music. Noticed by Found Magazine, who collect and curate found items, the Chicago-born singer-songwriter gradually gained attention. Today, he is now signed on XL’s Hot Charity label and released his debut album Acousmatic Sorcery in April this year. In a music scene dominated by ready-made pop-stars and Youtube sensations, his story is a refreshing one.
‘Evening’s Kiss’ was the first track to be released from the record, a single of sorts. Recorded on analog tape, which he also uses during his live shows, ‘Evening’s Kiss’ is a beauty. Beal’s voice, a raw but gentle whisper, floats over plucked chords from a guitar stripped to its most bare. His delivery is earnest, enchantingly so. But beneath the overt simplicity, ‘Evening’s Kiss’ holds so much more.
In remission of the mind
Watch and listen to find
The position behind
This illusion of time
Got me counting my dime so on the bus I can ride
I’m even doubting the rhyme
Beal’s lyrics are poetic, speaking of a deep loneliness nuanced by layers of emotions that the minimalism of the track belies.
Yet, as this brilliant performance of Jools Holland suggests, perhaps Beal expresses the feelings more vividly live than on record.
This post comes a little late, but interesting backstory or not, Beal’s music is riveting and will definitely be something to look out for.
If this song has put you in the mood, here’s something else for you:
Music site Poking Smot recently put out a playlist titled ‘Lux Lisbon’, in reference to the novel (and movie) The Virgin Suicides. Featuring tracks from St. Vincent, Lykke Li, Francoise Hardy and tracks from Air’s score for the film, it is a fitting tribute to Jeffrey Eugenides’ masterpiece and hits all the right spots. Have a listen here: http://pokingsmot.net/music/15188.