Ever since Al Gore invented the Internet, artists the world over have found a myriad of ways to get their name and music out to the public. Chicago-via-Albuquerque-via-Chicago again singer/songwriter Willis Earl Beal took a decidedly less high-tech path by leaving fliers about town with his name and number. An incredible series of events later, and the soft-spoken musician became the first act signed to XL’s new Hot Charity imprint.
Beal’s debut effort, Acousmatic Sorcery, originally recorded on cassettes, is set for a March 20th release. The first taste of this storied album comes in the modest, heart-baring number “Evening’s Kiss”. His lyrics are breathed in an earnest whisper over unembellished guitar plucking, an ideal of minimalism. Despite the absolutely stripped-down stylings, there’s something remarkably captivating about the man’s simple sincerity.
You can hear the new track below. After you take a listen, go ahead and call the number on the image above. Beal himself will answer, chat a bit, and sing you a personal serenade. When we dialed him up, he did a sweet-as-hell rendition of what he called one of his favorite songs, Beck’s “Guess I’m Doing Fine” off Sea Change. It’s a marketing maneuver that comes just short of bastardizing his origins, but Beal seems genuinely willing to talk to anyone who calls. Besides, as he said on the phone, “I’m supposed to be a musician now.”