Willis Earl Beal is a Gem

willisSometimes you come across an artist that garners hype all over the place, but you really want to stay away from all that nonsense. That being said, I can no longer ignore Willis Earl Beal and I apologize for waiting so long. He’s just upped a new single from his forthcoming Through the Dark EP, and it’s pretty magnificent. It’s one of those rare songs that comes across with a focus on the power of voice, and a remarkable one at that. The instrumentation is pretty light, though it crafts a beautifully haunting playground for Willis and his accompanying vocalist to soar. Look for the digital EP on April 1st via Tender Loving Empire.

Smooth Minimalism From Willis Earl Beal

Willis_Earl_Beal_MG_1042_Interview_Under_the_Radar_James_Loveday_Leaving_labelThe internet is abuzz with this track already, but as hard as I tried not to fall into the hype, the song got me in the end. Chances are you’ve probably heard of Willis Earl Beal, but did you know he was about to release another LP called Nocturnes on August 28th? “Survive” is a track from that upcoming record, and it’s s simple yet vivid track from the gentleman. Clearly the vocals are in the spotlight, and their power and strength can be heard throughout the song as Beal winds his way through the lyrics. Check it out.

Stream the Willis Earl Beal Album at NPR

ACL approaches. With anticipation comes reflection. One of the most spell-bindingly pure moments for my 2012 festival was checking out Willis Earl Beal near sunset at the fest’s smallest stage. A reel to reel, a cape, some sunglasses, mannequins as backup singers, a microphone and a beer – it was emotion on stage.

Willis has an amazing story; military, hospital, homeless, street artist. Sample this live recording before heading to NPR to check out the album.

Top Live Shows in Austin in 2012

Our year end coverage begins with the three chiefs over at the ATH offices reveling in what was an incredible year in Austin, musically speaking.  Tons of rad bands blew us away with their live sets, and, well, there were just tons of bands.  I think we did more show coverage this year than in previous years, but as always, the great thing about our site is diversity.  We’re also linking back to our full reviews and photos of some of these nights, so you can get more of a feel of our thoughts, not to mention, checking out Brian’s great photographic 2012. Read on for thoughts on live acts from the three main contributors.
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ACL 2012: Sunday in Pictures

This post is going to be huge with good reason. The artists were very photogenic on a gorgeous day. The lawn held together for the most part despite the rain and spirits were high going into day three with beautiful blue skies and a dry breeze.

Here is the rundown for Sunday pics: Stars, Gary Clark Jr., Polica, Two Door Cinema Club, Die Antwoord, Willis Earl Beal and Crystal Castles. I took plenty of Zef Side shots, have a quick cameo from Moon Duo and got sad because of the closed pit for Crystal Castles that was “in the rider” though none of us photogs knew that. Willis Earl Beal may have been the highlight of my ACL with a small crowd to start that quickly grew as people were pulled in by the emotion and vocal power. Wonderful stuff.

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