I was a Willis Earl Beal fan before I knew who he was. I was at End of the Road Festival in the UK, and randomly stumbled upon him as he was starting his set. It was probably the smallest stage there.
What I saw was NOTHING like the WEB we know today. I've found a little footage from that show: check this out.
As you might expect, he left one hell of a mark on my mind. In the years since, it's been interesting to watch him rise from relative obscurity, and to see him shape his sound.
"Survive" opens slowly and sparsely. One by one, the layers begin to peek out. It's refined and smooth, full of cautious emotion and starry embellishments.
Admittedly I've been chasing the dragon, endlessly hoping for the tremendously raw power that I saw that afternoon - but I've embraced his gorgeous, bluesy brand of electro-soul for what it is.
With a song this good, it's easy to love it.