Chris BEARD – Who I Am & What I Do 2010

Chris BEARD – Who I Am & What I Do 2010

Blues

Chris Beard obviously took his time on this one. “Who I Am and What I Do” is the blues guitarist’s third CD, and first for Electro Glide Records. Those who have seen Beard before have been blinded by his fleet-fingered flash and been knocked out with his speed and heat. On the new disc there is still plenty of speed and electric intensity, but there’s also a new side emerging that could only have come from experience. Early on Beard’s singing was more utilitarian; there to convey the story between bursts of guitar. It’s apparent that he’s worked on his voice, as the ragged growl and wail of earlier outings is now tempered with a soulful croon, making Beard an unbeatable, complete package. It hurts and heals from the inside out. It’s the blues after all; it’s who he is, and what he does. And it sounds great
By Frank De Blase.
**
He has a fine blues voice, more gruff than melodic, and strong enough that he could occasionally stand in front of the stage without a mike and still be heard throughout the room.

Most of his material was original, including the slightly kinky “Tied Up, Tied Down, and Twisted” from a new CD to be released at the end of this month. Five-string bassist Richie Valentino took lead vocals at the beginning of the second set with Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”.

Valentino and drummer Ken Kahler, who used a large kit with customized cymbals, played in a heavier, busier style, closer to modern than to traditional blues backup. John Tucker was fluent in many styles, as he emulated piano and organ on his two electric keyboards. Each member of this superior backup band took lengthy solos.
**
On the title cut, Chris called upon his dear friend Ronnie Baker Brooks, another talent who grew
up in a blues house. In fact, Beard and Brooks teamed up to write three of the first six songs.
Ronnie once told me how Bernard Allison gave him the confidence to play the blues. Ronnie paid
it forward by giving Chris the confidence to write again. “Because I hadn’t written anything since
my Born To Play record in 2001, I’d gotten rusty when it came to writing. Ronnie gave me the
confidence to write again. Because Ronnie told me I could do it, it all started coming back. I just
had to find the time to sit down with the pen in my hand and concentrate.” Not only did Brooks
give Chris Beard writing confidence, but his edgy mix seeped into Beard’s own style. On the
funky “Blues Is My Livin’,” Beard sings of his family commitment to keep the blues alive. “Why
do I stick with the blues? That’s where my roots are. I do like other music and you can hear
those influences like Motown and rock in my contemporary songs, but you will always hear the
blues.” Ronnie’s own “Hard Out Here” has Beard flaunting a quaking, hard rock attitude.
On “Changeling,” Beard combines modernistic fuzz tones and wah-wah in space age blues for a
new age. What follows is “Tied Up, Tied Down And Twisted,” Beard’s slow blues tour deforce,
played from the heart, just like his father taught.
**
01. Blues Is My Living 4:00
02. Insecurities 5:12
03. Brand New Heart 4:31
04. Hard Out Here 5:02
05. Who I Am & What I Do 4:14
06. Hell of A Lovin’ Man 3:45
07. After I Said I Do 3:30
08. That’s The Way Love Was Mean To Be 4:53
09. Gotta Find My Baby 3:29
10. Changeling 3:09
11. Ties Up, Tied Down and Twisted 4:59
12. Hey Baby 3:42
**


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