Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday tea TV: Willis Earl Beal

One of the revelatory acts at last weekend's annual Pitchfork Music Festival here in Chicago was eccentric soul singer Willis Earl Beal. As I wrote on Friday:

But "singing" seems a flaccid verb for what Beal actually accomplishes. Projecting a massive, versatile voice that hollers and howls, grates and growls, the 27-year-old Beal's bellowing evokes the oldest bluesmen and the fiercest young rappers. It's a voice that swings wide, high and low -- often from guttural yawps to fluttery falsetto within a single line. He's Screamin' Jay Hawkins, then he's Curtis Mayfield.

Now I find this video of Beal, showing some performance footage spliced in with interviews about style — some of which take place in Brooklyn's Ran Tea House, where Beal (discovered first as a visual artist) has some tea and makes a sketch ...

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