Willis Earl Beal
July 14, 2012 6:05 PM   Subscribe

Willis Earl Beal first found fame when one of his flyers advertising his availability as a potential boyfriend appeared on the cover of Found Magazine in 2007. Over the next couple of years, unemployed and living in his Grandmother's spare room, he recorded an album with cheap and sometimes homemade equipment on a broken karaoke tape machine, which (after a convoluted tale recounted in this article from last year) came to be released, first by Found Magazine themselves in a limited release of 200, and eventually by XL Recordings. Willis Earl Beal performing Evening's Kiss (which is very different from the extremely lo-fi album version) and Swing On Low (album version) on Later With Jools Holland in April 2012.
posted by dng (10 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Never done heard a better tooth-pick guitar than Willis Earl Beal. He does have a powerful captivating voice.
posted by vozworth at 6:27 PM on July 14, 2012

I feel like at this point, Willis Earl Beal is less than the sum of his record label's hype machine. "Evening's Kiss" is lovely but the record is very inconsistent. Saw him live: great voice, good stage presence, flimsy (at best) songwriting. He really needs time to mature as a songwriter.

Meanwhile, his site still pretends the whole "call me, i'll sing you a song! write me a letter, i'll draw you a picture!" thing. Well I wrote him a letter and what I got in return was a photograph of a drawing, packaged up by an XL intern. Made me feel gross.
posted by Marquis at 6:52 PM on July 14, 2012

Some people were just meant to be nobody.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:04 PM on July 14, 2012

absolutely fucking wonderful. thank you.
posted by radiosilents at 7:30 PM on July 14, 2012

Thanks dng. I was expecting another music-post-shored-up-by-human-interest-story, but this turned out to actually be something interesting, and good. The detractors I've found online have a few valid points, but it seems to me like saying Jackson Pollock dribbles too much.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 7:46 PM on July 14, 2012

love this. love it so much i just bought the album on vinyl. thanks for this post. i hadn't seen any of hype machine and i would have missed it.
posted by nadawi at 8:23 PM on July 14, 2012

I'm a big fan, and have in the past enjoyed poking through the youtube for the various live versions of his songs. Good post, more people should know about him.
posted by inigo2 at 9:06 PM on July 14, 2012

The picture in the background here looks a lot like Infidels-era Dylan, I wonder if it's intentional.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:36 PM on July 14, 2012

I found out about WEB right about the time a childhood friend wrote an interview in GQ about him. Great music and such a fascinating character.
posted by knile at 4:53 AM on July 15, 2012

Metafilter: Not some flashy, excessively sweet food, more like a biscuit.
posted by Twang at 11:10 AM on July 15, 2012

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