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This is Not Normal Music: Willis Earl Beal

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Sometimes weird is good.  It’s just nice to hear something unidentifiable, something you have to ask yourself about.  Is this delta blues? Rap? Folk? It’s not that clear what genre Willis Earl Beal is in, though it is clear the work is authenticwhatever it is.


Beal’s work is sort of delta-rap, just to coin a term for this new subgenre. It’s a lot like Lead Belly, only now. So songs like “Ghost Robot” are as visceral as anything Lead Belly had done—or KiD CUDi (for those who get the Lead Belly reference) or others.  This is weird stuff, peculiar music, lyrics, and so forth, but very compelling at the same time.

He has two albums—Acousmatic Sorcery (2012) and Nobody Knows (2013)—and an EP, all worth a close listen.  So whatever the hell this is, it is great stuff for those who like rap and Lead Belly, some kind of authentic something. Give it a chance.