"The Beat Daddys"
A Ride on the Blues Train

Copyright 2005 by Terry Nell Morris

Anyone who grew up in the South has memories of certain things that are hard to explain to people who ain't from around here, 'ya know?  Our food is different, our stores are different, the people who work in the stores treat you sweetly and want you to "have a nice day" and "come back to see us".  When you go to close your eyes at night, even the sounds are different.  I mean, how do you describe the gray hued dusk sounds of crickets and katydids to someone who has never camped out all night under the stars because it was "too humid"?  Some people don't have these memories because they never experienced living in the South in the first place.  

But, there are still some musicians around who write songs about such Southern things as a "Train in the Distance".  A Southerner hears that phrase and immediately has a vivid memory of a train-in-the-distance.  We used to hear them several times a day, before we got air conditioning and inside plumbing.  There was a time when we didn't even wear a watch because you could tell what time it was by the passing of the trains.  Up North, they have trains, but the sounds are different than they are down here.  Their trains are in an odd kind of hurry and they have bus and truck noises and honking cars rushing around them.  The crowdedness of the big buildings seem to chop up the sounds of the train's passing in a weird way.  They just don't sound right.  Our trains-in-the-distance have a long moaning cry that seems to go on for hundreds of miles followed by a dark moving groan that you feel in your bones more than you can hear with your ears.  And then there is that deep roaring empty sigh as it slides over the mountain with that lonesome seems-like-forever moment of silence before someone finally says, "Well, must be 'bout eight o'clock, I'm getting tired."

Larry Grisham of "The Beat Daddys" wrote a song about a "Train in the Distance".  His train story innocently sings, "it was a train in the distance, I thought it was love."  A sad song of yearning for love, with a sweet smile of innocence as to not being sure of what exactly love feels like?  Now, that's Southern !  He has written a lot of songs.  Some are happy, most are sad, and some make you think.  The titles alone are poetic.  You are intrigued to hear the song that goes with them: "After the Mystery", "Livin' this Love", "Rainin' in the Real World", "How Blue Must I Get", "Delta Vision", "Lien on your Love", "This is Gonna Change Your Mind" ... and many, many more.

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Larry has written so many songs that he's filled up 4 CD's and has a bunch of demos ready to fill up some more.  He is an anomaly in many ways.  For one, he's a working musician and that IS his "real job", and he's not starving.  He is 6'5".  I don't know many 6'5" people who end up starving, because I think people just tend to feed them whether they are hungry or not, they are forced to eat. He's a big guy with a big personality and big talent to match.  He enjoys telling people that he thinks of "gravy" as a beverage.  Larry is not overly "big", but he's definitely not starving.  Unless you count starving for love as the same empty feeling as going without nourishment.  His divorces have been good fodder for a few songs over the years and his endlessly broken heart from trying to find love but dating the wrong women has sponsored a few others.  Other times he writes songs about the wild side of life that he has managed to stay away from but has witnessed others delving into while trying to find their salvation.  He can feel their pain even though he doesn't cross those lines himself. It's a good thing that Larry is such a good big ol' boy, because he has to carry around one of the biggest, most sensitive, hearts you will ever touch.  He sings as if his soul has just been ripped into a million pieces, and unfortunately, sometimes, it has.  But, he's big enough to scrape it all back together and look the devil in the eye and tell him to go scratch on someone else for a while, because he has better things to do than to wallow in the mire of self pity over not getting everything he ever wanted. There's a lot of life left and so, he'll just write a song about the experiences and wait for the next train-in-the-distance. This time it passes by might actually be love. Larry's heart may have been broken but it sure isn't empty. To hell with the devil.

Larry writes some of the most soul wrenching lyrics in his songs that you will ever hear. And he sings them with intimately executed piercing passion that causes you to feel every vowel in the depths of your own mournful wails that you cried in your personal history of past losses and blues. These songs make you ache.

In one of his new songs, "Lonely Road" (soon to be recorded for a new CD), Larry Grisham laments about leaving his quest of finding love because the road calls him. While he travels the roads with his music, he also questions about what he finds when he is out on the long lonely road. He asks, "Why do the bad ones beg me to stay."

From: "Lonely Road"

I hear a voice in the distance calling
My heart says go but I turn the other way
Same old roads for years I've traveled
Why do the bad ones beg me to stay

Just reading the words, without hearing a note of music, makes you feel the "blues." You can imagine the full effect you get when you actually hear the song delivered with Larry's lyrical raspy vocals and melody while backed up with Britt Meacham's whining guitar where he seems to gently squeeze the life of the notes out of the instrument as if he is choking the chords on the neck with his bare hands making the guitar moan in musical agony. He can make that sad baby cry real tears.

Another new song where Larry describes failed attempts at finding true love is in a tune called, "Bad Streak." He questions why "old loves can't remember the good times" and "All they can talk about's the bad." He sings, "They don't want to forgive me, I'm just a bad streak, I'm just a bad streak they had."

Man, do we need a Prozac cocktail about now, or what?  The saddest part of all is that every one of us knows absolutely exactly what he's talking about. And I thought that I was the only one going through that kind of misery. But wait, there's more. Larry really lays us out with the truth in, "Livin' These Blues."

From: "Livin' These Blues"

The blues ain't just a feelin', the blues ain't just a song
For me it's a way of livin', everything I do turns out wrong
Can't seem to make any money, can't hold on to it if I do
I just ain't singing about it, I'm really livin' these blues

Some call it bad luck, some call it paying your dues
I just ain't singing about it, I'm really living these blues

Talk about being in the "here and now" or as they say in the stagecraft of theater performers, "being in the moment." It's one thing to have the talent to write those words, but Larry also composes incredible melodies and harmonies for the score and he can also sing and deliver the musical message straight to your wounded spirit. Somehow he says all of the things you have wanted and sometimes needed to say, but didn't know how to get it out. It's as if he is a doctor sent to heal your soul. His song surgically removes your ruptured heartaches. Take two melodies and call him in the morning. You should feel better by then. You'll be all right tomorrow. It ain't nuthin' but the blues.

The guys in "The Beat Daddys" have all kissed fame smack on the lips a time or two, but they just haven't been invited to the prom yet.  Larry Grisham, lead singer/songwriter, has played harp on a Grammy Nominated Bobby Blue Bland song, "I'm a Blues Man" and Britt Meacham, lead guitar, was a member of Jackson Highway and played for all kinds of well known musicians when he was at Muscle Shoals.  Britt played those infamous guitar licks on Bob Seger's, "Old Time Rock and Roll".  The Beat Daddys have toured abroad extensively and have opened shows for numerous "somebody's" and they have been the top billing, too.  But, after all of these years, they're somehow still the bridesmaids at the wedding and haven't yet been the bride.  I guess some of us smart old gals just know without flinching that we get better with age and eventually someone with good sense is going to instantly know how wonderful we are the first time they see us.  When that happens, "The Beat Daddys" will definitely be invited to play at the wedding.  Some really good things are just worth waiting for and some rare orchids take a little longer to bloom.  And so we wait.

This is the kind of band that always commands attention when they play.  Everyone in the room will lean over to someone and say, "who are these guys and where have they been?"  The next comment is always, "I can't believe they aren't famous !!!"  We all wonder how many dues you have to pay before you actually "break out"?  I suppose it's a little like playing a slot machine, and all we need is that ONE quarter to win.  If you put in enough quarters, you eventually win.  Seems simple enough, but you have to have staying power and stamina, and deep in your heart you have to "believe" in tomorrow. Larry Grisham sings about "the blues," but if the truth is told, he positively believes in the day after the story is told. His songs help to wash away your blues so that tomorrow's bright shining morning arrives with a big smile to awaken new days with new ways to inspire your life. He lives his life as a beacon of positive energy and he shares his enthusiasm with everyone along the way.

When you play their CD's, you like every song and you love several more than others.  When the CD is through you think to yourself, "there ain't a dud on here."  And before long, you're hooked and you find that the only CDs in your player are by "The Beat Daddys",  You do still have one or two others laying around that you used to play but can no longer remember because you haven't played them in so long.  You play "The Beat Daddys" almost exclusively and you find yourself turning all of your friends on to their music.  Surely to goodness word of mouth is going to catch up for these guys before much longer !!!

So, pour yourself a cup of gravy and slap a "Beat Daddys" CD on the stereo.  Call a few friends over to listen with you, unless you'd rather be alone while you listen to song wrenchings of a poor guy's heart breaks. Here's a toast to quench your parched love with a tall glass of the blues.  May you always find the road ahead and never look back.

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