The Alex Beaird Band Shines On
By James Layman
Hailing from Bernie, MO, The Alex Beaird Band is an enigma of sorts. First, their debut album Shine On is as professionally produced (produced by Walker Bros. Studio - Bernie, MO) as some veteran recording artists I’ve heard. Secondly, with only three members, this power trio at times has the sonic intensity of a five piece band. And finally, since I called them a power trio, it should be said that they don’t completely fit the bill of a traditional power trio either.
Beaird, formerly of the group Bull Mountain Revelry and a veteran of the Cape Girardeau music scene, has added his brother Justin Beaird (drums) and Matt Garner (bass) to form a tight knit trio. As for Beaird’s musical writing style, it seems to transcend the void between blues rock and modern alternative rock almost effortlessly.
My personal favorites from Shine On include “Your Love is Gonna Save Me”, “Born Under a Blue Sky”, “Hound Dog Moan”, “Not a Game”, and “The Sun is Shining Through”. These five songs showcase a talented knack for elaborate chord changes and breaks, hard driving rhythms and melodic experimentation. Of these five, “Born Under a Blue Sky” is hands down my favorite and I have to say that I think this is the REAL voice of The Alex Beaird Band; an uncompromising musical and lyrical line drawn in the sand.
With songs like the title track “Shine On”, “Slow Moving Train”, and “Cotton Field Blues” they show their love for the bluesy side of rock and do so eloquently. I can tell this is a genre Beaird et al are comfortable with, so these songs may have been added to showcase a little bit of variety.
Now that I’ve told you about all of the good stuff, I also need to mention that three of the songs on this album could’ve stayed in the vault. Variety, as good as it is, can also become a double edge sword threatening to slice through the feel of the album as a whole.
“Bourbon Hotel” is, classically speaking, an Outlaw Country tune. Beaird showcases some great guitar work but the song just doesn’t allow the album to flow like it should. Meanwhile, “Fireflies” and “Take Me to the Other Side” seem like they were added last minute. I’m not saying they were, I’m making more of a point about the fluidity of the album as a whole.
I know Beaird has sited Freddie King, Albert King and J.J. Cale as some of his influences and that definitely shows in spots. As that may be the case, this listener feels that the Bonamossa and Led Zeppelin connections are easier to make.
It should also be stated that Beaird is a conceptual lyricist which I find refreshing in a world where so many bands say absolutely nothing. In Layman’s terms he speaks his mind. I give this album 3.5 out of 5 stars and I eagerly await their next release to see what new direction and ideas they come up with.