Beau Shelby Background Info
Beau Shelby was born Richard Reynell Shelby in 1962 and began to teach himself drums at age 8 and guitar at age 11. Formed his first band , JABON ,in 1977 and continued to learn from live professional concert performances and televised professional performances such as Don Kirshner ’s Rock Concert , Midnight Special and other shows that debuted and featured some of music’s most acclaimed Icons and Diva’s from the beginnings of their now well known careers. His “particularly blistering” style of lead and a “hela-funky” to “most-mellow” rhythm style has earned him a reputation among fellow musicians. (via Beau Shelby’s Bio)
Beau’s guitar says, expresses, and defines things that no lyrics could ever come close to defining. And that’s one of the greatest things about Blues and Jazz. You could take two different Jazz guitarists and have them play the same song, but they will both end up completely different sounding. That’s what happens when you impart all your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and dreams into your guitar.
Beau Shelby doesn’t use his guitar to just make melodies or music. His guitar has a voice – a beautiful voice – that only Beau can coax out of it. Beau Shelby is a master of his instrument. And when I say master, I don’t just mean he’s really good. I mean he is the master.
Or perhaps prodigy is a better description? It’s not often you find a guy who’s had but one (1) teacher/instructor in his entire lifetime and ends up even half as good as Beau Shelby. That’s just simply not natural. I don’t know whether he found music or music found him, but it’s obvious that the two were bound to meet eventually.
There is a massive difference between most of today’s music and Jazz/Blues. Personally, I love me some Rock music, but those musicians aren’t masters of their instruments like Beau Shelby is (there are a few, rare exceptions). Most Rock musicians play power cords. They play loud and distorted, so precision isn’t nearly as important. Beau Shelby’s music is precise. It is calculated. It is fundamentally and structurally brilliant.
But even in all that structure and discipline, he finds a way to let creativity and beauty shine in his music. He creates and plays, with seemingly so little effort, insanely intricate riffs that I can only pull off on my very best days with my air-guitar. As if the Jazz gods speak through his guitar to anyone willing to listen. You should be listening.
And while his guitar playing is certainly the show-stopper for me, it would be criminal not to mention his silky-smooth vocals. He just has the voice – as if by destiny. Beau is the total package.
A lot is made about the history of St. Louis and their Blues. And who can blame them? St. Louis IS Blues. Why else do you think we’d name our hockey team after it (even if the players and owners are a bunch of greedy d-bags… I digress. Not the time or place.)? What’s a shame is that people tend to forget the Blues and Jazz hasn’t disappeared from St. Louis.
While the city has a rich history that certainly is deserving of being recognized, we mustn’t overlook the fact that new Blues and Jazz is constantly springing up in this great city. Of course it doesn’t help that Blues is also being mixed with other genres (i.e. Hip Hop, Punk, some kind of crazy Electro stuff and, *gulp* yes, even Rock to a certain extent) which is distorting, diluting, and frankly, destroying what is quite possibly one of the more expressive forms of music out there.
And unfortunately, MarsBands isn’t doing the scene any favors. Admittedly, our area of expertise isn’t in the Blues or Jazz genres, but we should still be doing more to promote our hometown. And we will. In fact, there’s a good chance that to kick things off we will dedicate an entire week to St. Louis Blues and Jazz greats in the not too distant future.
Beau Shelby is a brilliant musician as well as a brilliant author with quite a lot of great and insightful things to say. MarsBands recommends you check out Beau Shelby’s blog. Oh ya, he also owns and operates his own label as well, TriportMedia, which is another reason we like him so much.
My favorite songs from Mr. Shelby, which you are free to listen to and enjoy below, were Tore Up, Mama’s World, and Ready? …Confetti!!! I strongly encourage, nay, implore, that you check out some of the silkiest smooth Jazz and Blues you’ll hear this side of the Mississippi.