When you grow up in a house filled with the blues, when your father grew up on Beale Street, when music is in your DNA then,...' Blues is Who you are and What you do.'
Born in 1957, Beard is the son of Joe Beard, a fine blues guitarist who grew up on Beale Street in the 1950’s before moving to Rochester, NY. When family friends like Matt “Guitar” Murphy and Buddy Guy stopped by, young Chris became their willing pupil.
Chris Beard is a modern blues guitarist and singer like few others. His personal connections to the blues were forged with the living blues men he’s sat with since childhood.
After years playing the clubs in and around Rochester, Chris was offered the opportunity to record. In 1998, he released his debut recording, Barwalkin’, on JSP Records. That record earned Beard a W.C. Handy nomination as Best New Blues Artist.
Chris produced his follow-up disc, Born To Play The Blues in 2001 to the critical acclaim of the blues press and earned Beard the title, Prince of the Blues.
Then, in 2005, Beard released Live Wire, a stirring combination of live and studio performances for Northern Blues. His latest CD is called "Who I am and What I do" and has already earned him accolades all across the USA.
“Blues is my roots,” says Chris. “I grew up as Joe Beard’s son in the house of the blues. I grew up around Buddy Guy and Matt Murphy. The influence of Buddy has been major. All he has to say to me is ‘Keep on doing what you’re doing.’ Matt always told me that the guitar has to become an extension of you. That will always stick with me.”
But on this new record, Beard, a world class guitarist, devoted time and energy into establishing his unique and compelling voice. With the combination of Beard’s assertive voice and his exciting guitar, this record is a seamless combination of traditional blues with a contemporary edge.
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", said Chris. Ronnie paid it forward by giving Chris the confidence to write again.
Who I am and What I do is a record backed by two different bands with musicians that Beard has toured and recorded with for many years. This duality gives Beard the confidence to stretch his magical voice and amazing guitar. At the same time the in-house production of he and his brother Duane built the record with the right sound. It is by far Chris's best Cd to date!!
2001 Born to Play the Blues
2005 Live wire
2010 Who I am and what I do
Art Tipaldi, Contributing Senior Editor Blues Revue and BluesWax
Edited by Valerie Scott, B.E.B.E. Inc,
Agent and PR contact
Lead Guitar, Rythmn Guitar ,Bass Guitar, Drums and Key Boards
2001 Born to Play the Blues
2005 Live wire
2010 Who I am I and What I do
Ten toes up
Blues is My Livin'
Never had no Blues
That's the way love was meant to be
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Live Performance Reviews Page 7 CHRIS BEARD LIVE AT "BOURBON STREET BLUES" ...
Live Performance Reviews
CHRIS BEARD LIVE AT "BOURBON STREET BLUES"
MAY, 2008 - NASHVILLE, TN
BY PETER "BLEWZZMAN" LAURO, © 2008
I recently visited Nashville for the very first time in my life, but it will certainly not be my last. As a matter of fact, while there I spent most of my free time looking at houses. My company has an office there and I am hoping to, one day soon, call the city home. I didn't get to see as much of the city as I had hoped, and although there wasn't a whole lot of time to spend partying, I did discover the place I will certainly become a regular at once I relocate there. That place is BOURBON STREET BLUES.
Our day spent house hunting resulted in the day being very long and tedious. Combining being a bit tired with being very hungry we started out our night much earlier than usual. When we arrived at BOURBON STREET BLUES, we were the first two people there. We just wanted to get somewhere so that we could sit, eat and relax. Having to wait two hrs for the music to start was a non issue for us.
As we took our seats at a table, the pungent odor of last nights stale beer, mixed with the heavy doses of nicotine that filled the air, made us feel like we were actually strolling along Bourbon Street in New Orleans. It was a strange yet familiar fragrance.
Fearing the inevitable onslaught of a frenzied tobacco dependent audience, we quickly ordered dinner. I ordered a Bourbon Street sampler and my wife ordered the ribs. When we were done, both of us expressed how pleasantly surprised we were. We had come here expecting good blues but didn't expect to have an absolutely delicious dinner. My wife, who has had ribs all over the country claimed that she had just had the best ribs of her life and my nearly 300 lb body could not finish the abundant amount of delicious jambalaya, gumbo and red beans and rice that was placed in front of me.
It was getting close to show time and although we were disappointed that we would not be seeing BOURBON STREET BLUES' premier house band the STACY MITCHHART BAND, we were going to be treated to a show by CHRIS BEARD. As it turned out, getting to see CHRIS BEARD was a good and timely thing. First of all, his show was killer and secondly, since I am on the band selection committee for the RIVERWALK BLUES AND MUSIC FESTIVAL in Ft. Lauderdale Florida February 09 and CHRIS BEARD is one of the bands we were considering hiring, I could now make a more intelligent decision on this matter.
As we turned our consumption of food into a consumption of cocktails, it was now time to turn our attention to the stage. As the band was warming up..........never mind, I retract that statement. There's no warming up with these guys. Within 30 seconds of taking the stage, CHRIS BEARD on guitar and vocals, Tony Howard on drums, Richard Rodolph on bass and Zack Shelly on keyboards were all in mid show form. These guys heat up faster than a ship full of sailors back from six months at sea.
CHRIS started off the first set paying tribute to two of his, as well as two of my, all time favorite blues men - Luther Allison and Albert King. During a lengthy and blistering version of "I'LL PLAY THE BLUES FOR YOU", he left the club and played as he strolled down Historical Printers Alley. After several other covers CHRIS did and interestingly titled original called "TEN TOES UP" (TEN TOES DOWN). On this very funky number, the crowd was treated to a real good look at featured keyboarder Ian Sherman. Along with his boss, this is one hell of a one-two punch.
Unfortunately, due to a three set show, the first set rapidly came to a close. The all day house hunting, the pile of jambalaya and the cocktails had now taken their toll. There was no way this baby boomer could last any longer. However, we did see enough for a positive recommendation. The following morning, I called our festival promoter and I am very happy to say that I'll now be able to catch the rest of the show that I missed in BOURBON STREET BLUES that night right here in South Florida in November. CHRIS BEARD has been booked.
Thanks to the staff at my future hang out, BOURBON STREET BLUES, for the good service, the good food, the good vibes and the good blues.
Living Blues Talk's to Chris Beard
Talking with Living Blues
Blues don't get much hotter
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PDF files require Acrobat Reader. Click icon to download it for free Download Chris Beard's ...
PDF files require Acrobat Reader. Click icon to download it for free
Download Chris Beard's Press Kit (PDF File)
Chris Beard’s third CD, “Live Wire”, produced by Chris, was releasde in May 2005. A compilation of two “live” performances in Grand Rapids, MI and Chicago, IL which contains six new songs and bonus studio tracks. Here's a recent review of "Live Wire":
You could say that Chris Beard likes to play guitar -- the nine minutes o fretboard pyrotechnics that make up the opening "Born to Play the Blues" make that all too apparent. This is a full-on electric blues (mostly) live disc, full of scintillating lead guitar (check out the inspired "Tribute to Luther Allison"), backed by a top-notch band, whose players also get a good workout, like keyboardist Alan Murphy on "It's About Time." But the inevitable focus is on Beard's massive skills. He's a good singer, if not outstanding, but he's a dynamic, inventive guitarist who seems to be at his happiest when dazzling an audience. Those cuts have an immediacy and energy that's missing on the three final studio t racks -- even the aching "Lock My Dreams," where he makes his guitar cry, lacks that energy. Having already established his reputation with his previous work, Beard cements his stature with this record, and sets himself up to take a place among the contemporary blues guitar greats.
(Chris Nickson, All Music)
"I was five years old and I'd figured out Green Onions," Chris Beard says, recalling his first musical steps on a hot, hazy summer day in Rochester, New York. "My mom was, like, astounded. 'Joe, look at him! He's playing!' He wasn't even amazed. He was like, 'Mary, the kid's five years old. What do you expect?' It was like, "he should have been doing that when he was two." Not long after Green Onions , his father, bluesman Joe Beard, gave Chris his first guitar. "It was a Les Paul copy. We got instruments for Christmas. My brother Duane got drums. I got guitar." Today, four decades later, a Les Paul is still Chris' main guitar. And Chris sees not only humor in his dad's reaction , but also evidence of his expectations for his son even then. "It was like he already knew it was there...It wasn't surprising to him." With two CD's-one of which was nominated in 1998 for a W.C. Handy Award-a schedule that keeps him on the road most of the year, Chris Beard is fulfilling his father's expectations. Read complete article (PDF File)
At mid-afternoon, the Humidex was hitting its stickiest peak, 36 C, when Chris Beard entertained a sparse crowd of about 1,000. Their dedication was rewarded by Beard, son of bluesman joe Beard, during his slick 60-minute set. Fusing contemporary rock edges with traditional blues licks, the 48-year-old Rochester, N. Y. native made his guitar sing, wail, weep, scream and whisper. He also some apt ad-libbed lyrics into his final number: "I gave that woman everything she need but she made my heart bleed, That's why I'm here in London now, standin' in the hot sun and singin' the blues."
(Noel Gallagher, The London Free Press, 2008)
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There were some great surprises to the summer like when Chris Beard came to Union Street Station in ...There were some great surprises to the summer like when Chris Beard came to Union Street Station in August while touring in support of his JSP records release Born To Play The Blues. The 250 in attendance were awestruck by Beard's hard driving guitar playing. In fact, Beard, in the middle of his show, walked out of the club while playing his guitar and stood in the middle of the street and played for two minutes attracting a crowd. Many followed Beard back into Union street Station where he proceeded to jam for two hours. Remember the name because you will be hearing from New York's Chris Beard regularly.
Concert Review: Chris Beard
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Concert review: Chris Beard plays hard, long and with showmanship and skill at 2nd Story Blues ...
Concert review: Chris Beard plays hard, long and with showmanship and skill at 2nd Story Blues
Total People in Discussion: 0
Categories: Concert Reviews, Music
Posted by Jodi Duckett at 01:42:08 PM on May 2, 2010
Dave Howell Special to The Morning Call
BEARD Chris Beard is working hard to build his reputation. Judging from his show Friday at 2nd Story Blues, it will not be long before he is one of the best known bluesmen in the country.
Performers who visit the Bethlehem club are known for crowd-pleasing moves like walking through the audience while playing guitar. Beard went beyond that to walk all the way to the front door and down the stairs and, playing his guitar the whole time, strut down the center of Third Street while cars passed him on both sides. Many of the audience watched from the windows of the club, and a few went down to take photos along the street. Incidentally, Beard did this twice, once for each set.
Beard can back up his showmanship with skill. He can rip off runs as fast as anyone, but at other times he played expressively, using his guitar as an extension of his voice. He favored long instrumentals, particularly slow blues, while including a bit of rock and roll and funk.
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.
After three and a half hours including a break, much of the audience had left out of exhaustion. Beard himself seemed tired, although he made sure it did not affect his singing or playing.
You have to believe Beard when he says he loves the blues, and he genuinely enjoys his audiences, particularly the ladies. A few of them got to experience Beard up close as he played while sitting on their laps, or leaning against them.
Real modern day Blues man
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Featured Artist: Chris Beard CD Title: Live Wire! Year: 2005 Record Label: NorthernBlues...Featured Artist: Chris Beard
CD Title: Live Wire!
Record Label: NorthernBlues Music
Musicians: Chris Beard (lead guitar, rhythm guitar, vocals); Buddy Honeycutt (drums); Quinn Lawrence (horns); Marvin Parker (bass guitar except 7,11,12); Alan Murphy (keyboards except 7,11,12); Tony Jackson (bass on 7,12); Brother Wilson (rhythm guitar on 8,10); Darren Robinson (bass on 11); Steve Grills (rhythm guitar 11,12); George Snell (keyboards on 11,12).
Review: Pure emotion! Bluesman Chris Beard pours it out in abundance on his Live Wire session. Recorded live at concert in Grand Rapids and Chicago, the 48 year old guitarist bares his soul on this disc. Admitting a preference for live venues the singer includes three fine Dennis Walker songs from a studio session in Rochester, NY. Walker's songs are always a treat but Chris Beard's live tracks are more expressive.
Beard's new CD is impressive from the first note. He's a fiery player and a good writer. Five of his original compositions are included on the album. I especially liked the opener Born To Play The Blues and the witty Ten Toes Up, Ten Toes Down.
The highlight is Beard's treatment of Lucky Peterson's Tribute To Luther Allison done in two parts. Chris Beard makes his guitar bleed!
If you love hard-driving electric blues, drop by the singer's website and lend your ear to this one.
Tracks: Born To Play The Blues; Ten Toes Up; It's About Time; Tribute To Luther Allison Pt 1; Tribute To Luther Allison Pt 2; Caught Up; It's Over Pt 1; It's Over Pt 2; It's Over Pt 3; Street Of Broken Dreams; Never Felt No Blues; A Change Must Come; Can't Walk Away; Lock My Dreams; Who Can You Trust.
Blues is My Livin', Insecurities, Brand New heart,Who I am and What I do, Hey Baby, After I said I d, I'll Play the Blues for You, Caught up, Ten toes up, It takes a smart man, Never had no Blues. Street of Broken Dreams, Crossfire, Leave my little girl alone, Somebody Seeping in My Bed , Purple Rain and many more.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.