Jason Beckham's Innocent
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Jason Beckham's Innocent


Band Rock Blues


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"Bending It Like Beckham...and Brown"

Most solo acoustic acts thrive on the ambience and intimacy provided by a place like Fresh Brewed Coffeehouse, tucked away on Broadway Street in downtown Myrtle Beach. However, last Friday's (March 23) Kate Brown and Jason Beckham double-feature might have been a little too ambient and almost uncomfortably intimate for the mere handful of people that showed up. But for those that were there and stayed the course, they were treated to two of the region's best and brightest singer-songwriters.

Newly local chanteuse and area coffeehouse queen Kate Brown opened with an all original set that was the perfect complement to Fresh Brewed's not-too-bitter house blend. Any woman in her 30s caught delicately strumming an acoustic guitar nowadays will inevitably draw comparisons to the laborious Lilith Fair ilk, but to automatically lump the pleasant warble and confessional coo of Brown in with other überfemmes such as Sarah MacLachlan or Patty Griffin (or worse yet, Lisa Loeb), just wouldn't be, well, fair. With lyrics that quote Italian arias and harmonically adventurous chords and voicings that veer far outside the well-trodden, Brown - whose jeans and t-shirt wardrobe is every bit as non-descript as her name - is a little more deep than that.

After a well-timed coffee-induced bathroom break, it was Jason Beckham's turn. With a voice stratified somewhere between a Steve Earle bellow and a Lyle Lovett croon, underscored by a strum and pick guitar style resembling the latter's front porch partner Robert Earl Keen, Beckham showed everyone in attendance - all 12 of them at least - exactly why he's so popular in surrounding cities like Nashville, Tenn., Asheville, N.C. and his present home of Athens, Ga. His straight ahead, no nonsense narratives are immediately palatable to fans of both alt country and contemporary blues, especially tracks like "Mistakes" - his heartbreakingly earnest plea for a former lover's redemption. Deftly aware of his surroundings, not to mention the power of a good metaphor, Beckham then prefaced his similarly poignant "Take Me With You (When You Go)" with a personal, surprisingly sincere lament for a certain "recently demolished wooden rollercoaster across the street" (although with its mention of abandoned storefronts and out-of-season hot spots, the song hit home there on Broadway more so than he could have ever consciously intended.) His only lapse in lyrical judgment the entire evening came near the end during his otherwise okay "Running Away." A portentous (though completely understandable if you've ever spent any amount of time there at all) tune about getting the hell out of Asheville, Beckham tried to slip in a sophomoric "verbal sample" of Joseph "Grandmaster Flash" Saddler's 1982 Bronx bombshell"The Message." Once an animated, talking penguin uses the phrase "Don't push me 'cause I'm close to the edge..." to solicit laughs in a G-rated summer blockbuster, consider it null and void for all artistic purposes henceforth.

Logan K. Young
- The Weekly Surge

"Record Reviews Jason Beckham"

Recent local transplant Jason Beckham doesn't show off his capabilities to elaborately title a song on his brief, four-song debut On the Surface (“Leads Me To You,” “Take Me With You,” etc.). Thankfully, though, Beckham has some pretty sound vocal and guitar chops to back him up.

Given his soulful vocals and preference for subdued acoustic arrangements, it would be easy to lump Beckham hastily into the Ben Harper/Jack Johnson file. His steady, meditative songs borrow more, however, from the back pages of guys like Jackson Browne and Cat Stevens than from any modern example. The somber title track, featuring only Beckham with no accompaniment, is a particular high point, as is the moody “I’d Love To Watch a Train,” backed by Bart King on piano and Patrick Ferguson (Music Hates You, ex-Five Eight, ex-Big Atomic) on drums.

As it's only four songs and barely 20 minutes long, On the Surface doesn’t really give us that much to go on. However, Beckham’s soulful sampling is a step in the right direction, and it makes the idea of a full-length album that much more of an interesting prospect.

Michael Andrews
- The Flagpole

"Rock On!"

Among the numerous inventory of performers catalogued within encore's Soundboard, Jason Beckham stood out as I scoured the list for new music to check out over the weekend. It sounds as though he could easily appear in a blockbuster film-something with the word "Supremacey" in the title?- or on the cover of a celebrity gossip magazine next to a beautifully posh wife, maybe. Yet when I heard his tunes, I knew right away he is a musician with a lot of depth and little pretense. Citing his influences among such powerhouse personas as Van Morrison, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and Jack Kerouac, Beckham brings his sound on the road again from Athens, Georgia, to Wilmington for a live performance at Folks Cafe. Inadequately labeled simply "rock" on his Myspace page, Beckham's sound holds far more facets of characterization with its at times cool blues-y tones and sudden folk rock intrigue. Check him out for yourself first at www.myspace.com/jasonbeckham and dont miss this show.

Emily Rea - Encore

"Jason Beckham"

"The 60's were the real thing," Beckham says on his Myspace site. And while that's true enough, this Watkinsville, GA, singer-songwriter peppers his Van Morrison records and collection of Kerouac novels with a good dose of '80s southern twang via The Geogia Satellites, the powerhouse roots-rock of Springsteen and the modern sadness of worn-out troubadours like Elliott Smith.

P. Wall - The Free Times


On The Surface EP