“People had all these ideas about what I was supposed to be,” he says. “I had only ever wanted to make lullabies.” So says Willis Earl Beal, a man who has experienced much in his life, from homelessness, to serious illness that led to him being discharged from the US Army, to recording homemade records with hand drawn covers, despite never learning an instrument, to living in the woods and reinventing himself following the end of his XL recording contract.
Now signed to Tender Loving Empire, Willis Earl Beal has recorded a new album, Nocturnes, and they are just that – twelve songs of the night – tender, childlike, from the outsides and the edges of culture. Ahead of its August 28th release, Beal has revealed a new track, Flying so Low. It’s hazy, and orchestral at the beginning, with Beal’s vocal crooning over the top, strong but tender, masterful but at the same time concealing this fragility. It moves slowly, these string led chords merging from one into another as it meanders forward, gently revealing its beauty.
Thank God he got his wish.