When you grow up in a house filled with the blues, when your father
grew up on Beale Street, when music was in your DNA, then blues is who
you are and what you do.
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.
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.
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
“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
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. Ronnie paid it
forward by giving Chris the confidence to write again.
Who I am and What I do.
Backed by two different bands with musicians that Beard has toured and
recorded with for many years gives Beard the confidence to stretch voice
and guitar. At the same time the in-house production of he and his
brother Duane built the record with the right sound.
Discography 1998 Barwalkin
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