The hand drawn picture and information you see above, is the kind of thing that Willis Earl Beal has been leaving around his hometown of Chicago (and various other cities that he’s lived in) for years now. Usually, they are accompanied by a few extra words, specifying that Willis is looking for friends, or hoping to meet “nice pretty girls”. In Alberquerque, New Mexico, he left CDs of his home recorded music in public spaces, not to try and promote himself, more to try and connect with people.
Willis Earl Beal, now 27, has had an up and down journey of a life, seemingly inhabiting a slightly different world to most of the rest of us, and this certainly is evident in his music which is at once both familiar and incredibly fresh and individual sounding. Willis’ voice has the timeless quality of the great soul singers, the lyrics are a sort of modern folk, and the production is utterly home recorded quality. The result is a song that at first listen a few days ago had me wondering exactly why he had just been signed to XL Recordings’ imprint ‘Hot Charity’ with a four-album deal, but now has me absolutely spellbound with it’s beautiful simplicity, and earnest, honest, beauty. “Evening’s Kiss” is the first song to hit the internet from the album Acousmatic Sorcery which will be released on March 20th.
Willis Earl Beal – “Evening’s Kiss”
Head to the Chicago Reader for a really, very much worth your time article about Mr Beal and his life, and hear three more tracks on The City Of Dust blog. If you’re still not convinced (as I truly am) that Willis Earl Beal has the talent to become huge, watch this live video of a song entitled “Wavering Lines” and see if your jaw doesn’t drop, then hit the comments section and let us know if you’re a fan.