The Daily Choice: Willis Earl Beal – Monotony
If you haven’t heard of Willis Earl Beal, you’re not alone, and you’re about to hear a lot about him. Beal has been crafting a sort of Daniel Johnson-esque discography as of late, eschewing the haunts of the internet and leaving his albums in various public places along with flyers that look much like the one above. He’s an artist, a poet, and of most import, a fucking talented songwriter and all of these are about to come tumbling in to the public eye. I don’t know how it happens, but if you’re massively talented, people just find you, they stumble across your well drawn flyer in a book store or on the street and for whatever reason instead of shaking their heads and counting you off as another crazy person they actually call you back. And instead of the other end of the phone line being filled with sex talk or gibberish, you get a talented musician like Willis Earl Beal on the phone and then, well, things just start happening. And they couldn’t of happened to a more interesting character with a more interesting take on what ever we’re calling folk these days. “Monotony” is just on the cusp of actually being a song. It’s slight, just guitar and Beal’s earnest, somber voice, and that’s it. And in terms of Willis Earl Beal, that’s all you need. The song is heart-wrenching and gorgeous in the sort of way you don’t hear that often. Almost as if you’re resting against the cold, dark walls of Beal’s mind, and the little guitar player that drives us all is playing for you and just you.
Beal is releasing a 17-song boxed set entitled The Willis Earl Beal Special Collection on Handwritten Records. Also, somewhere on the internet you can find “The Sound of America” a three-song collection crafted by the talented eccentric.