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"CD Review - My Heart Is Like A River"

Quincy, Ill., must be quite the place--I've met more than a couple of people from there, and they're all creative and talented individuals. So it's no surprise that Quincy the band, named after that same town from which lead singer/songwriter Christopher Beeson originally hails, resonates with creativity and talent.

From the build of "Forever" to the running instrumental drawl of "Mississippi," My Heart Is Like a River is a country-infused tribute to the river that runs through Quincy. "River House" sounds like a younger, better-voiced Neil Young, and the guitar hook on "Ursa" would sound just as at home on a Kinks record. "Guess You Know Now" is a traditional sad, drunken guitar/piano waltz with just the right amount of vocal wail, and the Latin rhythm of "Not That Kind of Girl" pairs nicely with the driving guitar of "Why Don't You Come Down Tonight." All 13 songs on My Heart Is Like a River are keepers.

Beeson's been playing and writing good music for a long time; just read the list of press quotes on his former Portland, Ore., band Demi-Dryer's CD Baby page. Some of the best new local bands are transplants who came here willingly and have embraced and enhanced our modest little musical network. Not to knock my fellow local born-and-bred musicians, but the more folks like Beeson who move here and up the ante, the better off we'll all be.
- Tucson Weekly

"CD Review - My Heart Is Like A River"

On Saturday, June 2, the quartet Quincy releases its newest LP at the excellent purveyor-of-live-music Plush, 340 E. 6th St.

Quincy's 13-song disk is a beautiful showcase of talent, lyrics and emotion. It's certainly not emo, so don't get me wrong here! The sound can be described as having a variety of alt country influences and straight up rock (with the traditional line-up of guitar, bass, and drums). This sells the style short though, as lyricist, guitarist and singer Christopher Beeson paints stunning scenes with his words and music that transcend categorization.

The nostalgia is palpable and reminds me of a quote from the movie Field of Dreams: “The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces.” For anyone who has lost a dearly loved one, you'll find solace in Beeson's loving memories. There are slow songs and fast songs and sad and happy songs and a couple instrumentals too. Track 5, Mississippi, is an instrumental that had me picturing Huck Finn and Jim on the mighty Mississippi.

Beeson, who's day job is running a doggie day care business (Dawg House) with his significant other Erica, spoke with the Downtown Tucsonan about the album's evolution, the band's evolution and what it is to be a musician in Tucson. Listen to tracks from the album at www.MySpace.com/QuincyTheBand.
DT : It's so hard to lose a person who is so close to you, especially a sibling. How did the loss of your sister to "Transposition of the Great Vessels" inform the album? It seemed to inform "Ursa" for sure.

CB: That's right - "Ursa" is the cornerstone song here. That was the first song I wrote for this record, and it's probably the most personal one. The other songs are sort of biographical satellites to "Ursa." The song "My Heart Is Like A River" is also very personal to me, but it was an attempt to be more accessible in terms of having a straight beat and a hook that people would remember. There are a few songs here that have been kicking around a while, but for the most part, writing songs this time was a grief process that started with "Ursa" and everything came out very quickly after that. My sister and I were very close, and there are a lot of inside references in these songs. It's a very dense record lyrically, but I had a lot to get out at the time.

DT: How did you connect with the musicians in your band once you got to Tucson?

CB: The guitarist Paul Bailey came along by way of a "musician wanted" ad I put out when I first moved to Tucson, and we played as a duo for a year or so. Jack Fandray, the bass player, kept a copy of that ad for over a year and rang me up out of the blue when another project of his disbanded. At about that same time, a woman I worked with mentioned that her husband Daniel was a drummer and we started exchanging demos. The first time all four of us got together, it was really like we'd been playing together for years. We fired on all cylinders right away. It was amazing.

DT: Please tell me the story of recording the tracks of the album on your portable 8-track.

CB: I've been totally devoted to the old 4-track cassette recorder for years, but for this project I had a whole band instead of just myself to record, so I bought a big old digital 8-track. I recorded the drum and bass parts together at the drummer's house on top of me singing and playing guitar, then recorded the keyboards and guitar at a couple other houses. At home I redid all my guitar and vocal parts, added little extra bits like tambourines, harmonies, dogs or train noises or whatever and started mixing. It was an interesting process because some of the songs were well-rehearsed, but some of them were just pieced together as we went along. In some cases the musicians had no idea what the final song was going to sound like. The overall idea was to get really fresh individual performances in good-sounding rooms, then layer them together and see what sort of sound emerged. I was happy with everything after mixing for about 6 months or so, but in order to get some overall cohesion to the record, I wanted somebody else to master it. I bugged Craig Schumacher for weeks to master the record using tape to compress it, because I knew he had that ability and equipment at Wavelab. He finally humored me and gave this record a professional quality that I couldn't have done myself.

DT: Who and what do you attribute to be your influences and your bands' influences?

CB: It's impossible to be influence-less, but I think you have to try if you want to have an original voice. The artists I like are restless in terms of style, like Joe Henry or Los Lobos or Wilco, so if anything, I'm trying to just be as open as that and see what comes out. The band makes that happen naturally because they come from all over the map: Paul (guitar) was in a successful college-indie-rock band out of the Southeast, Jack (bass) spent years in New York and LA as a roots-rock gun-for-hire and Daniel is - TucsonStyle.com

"Downtown Tucsonan"

You’ve done grilling, and now you are loath to be hustled and bustled. A mellow, rock groove may be more your speed this eve. For that, Plush has booked recent-on-the-scene Quincy for a lounge show. The band is lead by Portland transplant Christopher Beeson, whose musical spirit seems to have been born here. The style certainly has a guitar driven “desert rock” (a lá John Coinman, Greyhound Soul, Truck) sound, but it’s greener and sweeter and funkier sometimes too. - Jamie Manser - Downtown Tucsonan


"Quincy is one of Tucson's most promising new acts. Recent transplants from Portland OR, one of the hippest music scenes in the country, this act will remind you of Iron & Wine, a rootsy-meloncholy Sebadoh, or an indie-tinged 16 Horsepower w/ a bit of a Nick Drake influence."
- PlushTucson.com - Plush


The Oregonian describes his playing as "atmospheric and thoughtful" while HardRoad.com enthusiastically claims, "Beeson executes some of the most creative and efficient guitar accompaniment I have ever heard." - Oregonian


Quincy - My Heart Is Like A River - 2007
Quincy - Engine - 2005
Quincy - Solo at Sunway EP - 2005
Quincy - Love and Circumstance - 2004
Quincy - Some Stuff I Lost - Instrumental EP - 2003
Quincy - Eponymous - 2002


Feeling a bit camera shy


Christopher Beeson and band Quincy are named after the river town of Quincy, Illinois, and the music evolves from this midwest pinpoint of Americana. A handful of Quincy CD's have been released, and the latest, "My Heart Is Like A River," was released in summer 2007. Quincy is Roots Americana music something along the lines of "The Jayhawks meet Joe Henry at a folk festival".