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Nobody Knows.

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iTunes Review

After the alt.storybook rise of “outsider artist” Willis Earl Beal—with his no-fi release Acousmatic Sorcery and its rudimentary approach to life and music—it was inevitable that there's be a second act, perhaps including a professional studio. Yet Nobody Knows. is hardly a hi-fi affair. Sure, beats get a little slicker in spots. “Coming Through,” with Chan Marshall adding ghostly whispers and vocals, includes musical backing that sounds like a primitive garage-soul band adding a legitimate R&B groove, but the Tom Waits–like rawness of the gospel-blues-sex shouter “Too Dry to Cry” isn’t much removed from a few songs on the debut. A heavy, dark reverb adds a sense of menace to the strangely orchestrated “What’s the Deal?” A piano ballad like “Blue Escape” sounds like a man sitting at the back of an empty barroom singing for his own entertainment and spiritual release. It's quite excellent if you appreciate such odd-fi happenings.

Customer Reviews


This was a massive surprise for me this year. Lyrically, musically, and emotionally, this was a massive leap in quality compared to Beal's previous material. Highlights include the heartbreaking waltz "Blue Escape" and the the visceral "What's the Deal?". Highly recommended.




Born: Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Chicago singer/songwriter Willis Earl Beal began his foray into the music business by tacking hand-drawn flyers all over the greater metropolitan area with his phone number and address. The flyers said "My name is Willis Earl Beal. Call me and I'll sing you a song. Write to me and I'll draw you a picture." Beginning around the end of the 2000s, Beal was busking in train stations and making good on the promises of his flyers whenever the occasional call came in. In 2009 Found Magazine graced the cover...
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Nobody Knows., Willis Earl Beal
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Customer Ratings