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Get in Touch with Willis Earl Beal

If you want Willis Earl Beal to sing you a song over the phone, call him (773-295-2135). If you want him to draw you a picture, mail him (P.O. Box 471881, Chicago, Illinois 60647).

No, really.

The musician, currently living in Chicago, has posted his contact information on the Internet, the cover of Found Magazine and around the streets.

Be in touch.

If you’re familiar with Beal and under the impression that he is as unusual as his works suggest – you’re right.

I first learned of the young musician last month, when I came across his hand-drawn video for “Evening’s Kiss.” Although Beal has not professionally released a record, he captured the attention of XL Recordings long enough for them to sign him to their imprint Hot Charity.

An artist across several mediums, it is no surprise that Beal himself is an individual with character. Although he has seemingly no online presence (of his own doing), he has garnered soul through his music and been given an identity in a four-page interview with Found Magazine and Leor Galil’s piece for the Chicago Reader.

The lo-fi sound of Beal’s music is characteristic of bedroom productions. The fragility I sense is perhaps a direct result of his lyrical openness. After all, he’s a poet. The longing in his words and the sound of his voice reminds me of the beloved Sam Cooke. He’s been compared to Cooke, Saul Williams, Bob Dylan and others. To me, he cannot be pinned down so easily. The contrast between the soulfulness in “Take Me Away,” the delicateness of “Evening’s Kiss,” and the bluesy film over his early work “Blue Escape” makes it hard to classify what Beal makes.

But it is intriguing.

Beal’s forthcoming debut album, Acousmatic Sorcery, is due April 3 on Hot Charity. He is currently on tour.

Keep in touch.

Song: Blue Escape

Song: Take Me Away

Song: Evening’s Kiss

 

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