Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Beavers Digs in Deep

The above track is track 7 on the last album. He has a new album in the can, but this short review refers to his last album and his general comportment. A review of the new album is coming]

"Everyday starts with the crow," hollered out James C. Taylor at the 1970 Delta Rock Festival. Dale Beavers was not yet six years old, but it was already hard to tell that he had once been deemed the best looking baby in Chicot County, Arkansas. Since 1970, he decided to pick up a guitar in the same vein as his early life hero, Donnie Brown, of the Candy Shoestring, which held a reunion a couple years back. This journeyman axeman came up in the same way as Bo Carter: he got an early taste for "dirty" songs and others relegated him to the bass guitar. Over the years, moreover, he has become somewhat of an "All Around Man," cutting wood and making bread for his distressed spirit as well as making his own way through the crowd. Now he stands out front on his own record.

If someone asked random asshole #3 for a review of Dale Beavers' music, that fella might say it was blunt, straight-forward, unadorned. A self absorbed Nashville music critic, when not sitting at a bar obliviously enraging “blues assholes,” might say that Beavers was the “real deal,” particularly due to the fact that Beavers maintains a strong animus for such polyvalent terms. Beavers might very well dust off the overhand right on the music scene in Nashville, but the assessment would still prove accurate for some whether the object of his ire was out cold on the floor or not.

Dale Beavers on the Jeff Norwood Memorial
Stage at the 2016 Deep Blues Festival
Photo: Bill Steber 
The first time this author slipped the compact disc out of the package and into the small slit in my vehicle’s dashboard, it stayed right there spinning around and around for at least a few days. The first time it started over and began playing the first song, I realized for a second time that it I didn’t want to hit the stop button. It starts off innocent enough—with Beavers, I assume, strumming a single chord up and down at a steady pace, and then the drummer comes in with the classic snare-kick-snare, which brings a bass guitar not-quite-thundering into the mix with the accompaniment of keys, beating hard and straight down onto the ivory, steady, rocking, and true to the rhythm 

It takes a full thirty seconds before the engineer is required to slide up another fader and allow the vocals to inform us of the problem that consumes the mind of Dale Beavers. Not a terribly complicated man, not a man who covets intellectual pursuits in the ivory tower, Beavers has the same type of attitude and concerns as one might expect to find in a host of red-blooded Americans testing the limits of their historically uninhibited freedoms. The sound and tone gives off a fun aesthetic that makes you want to crack a beer and smile at the girl sitting at the end of the bar. It makes you want to dance with her, and it also lets you know that Beavers understands how you feel after getting shot the hell down and squirming back inside that brewskie.

You will not get a whole lot of answers to the big questions this world has to offer, but you will feel good enough about yourself that you will smile at the other woman, who sits at the other end. Or you might even go after the first woman’s short-haired friend. What I’m trying to impart in the short review is that the music is good; it’s not anymore real that the songs on another record. Every asshole in the room will tell you something different if pressed to define the term “real” or “authentic.” So I know why Beavers does not like such terms. He does not bullshit, period. He may not know what the hell is going on, but he will let you know that he's lost. The songs he plays are not meant to be “real” or “authentic,” which makes the record so damn fun to hear more than once. I’m going to put the record back on right now. Do yourself a favor and do the same.

Dale Beavers (guitar) performs with esteemed Columbian 
attorney Portuondo Guapado, (drums) the fifth 
cousin once removed from folklorist Tary Owens.
Photo: Bill Steber
Beavers music is reflective of the blues traditions and artists for whom he worked over the years, but it should be stressed that now as a solo artist, who has stepped out from behind these purveyors of tradition, that he has managed to take on elements of different styles and build a conglomeration that on his record comes across squarely his own. He achieves this sound, in part, by embracing the stripped-bare tone of the mid-Delta from which he came, refusing to dress it up too much, and roundly rejecting the modulation and adulterating digital devices that came to plague so many children of the eighties.  If you see him performing, tell him he's still the prettiest baby from Chicot County. Then you may need to duck and cover. He is Dale Beavers, American, and these colors don't run.  

- T. DeWayne Moore

[The below track is track 1 on the album--described at the top]