Allyn's Cafe - The spicy mix of food and diverse live music sessions
TT Clinkscales - CityBeat (Cincinnati weekly) 2005 Swizzle issue
|"The perfect evening can start and end right here. Meet up with friends to enjoy a fantastic pre-show meal (a couple of orders of Cajun Fries and a Cajun Seafood Platter will put the spice and more than a bit of heft in your life), settle into a cozy booth and get lost in the vibe of favorite local singer-songwriter, Beau Alquizola."
Dig it: A happier Jeff Buckley
Dale Johnson - CityBeat (Cincinnati weekly)
|MidPoint Music Festival - Kaldi's Coffeehouse - 12:20am
"The pristine and soulful voice of Beau Alquizola is a real treat. Although some might consider this a left-handed compliment, he sings as well as those five-part-harmony boy bands but with more depth and feeling and less squealing 9-year-old girls and choreographed dance moves. That we know of."
Dig it: R&B and Soul and Reggae and Pop and Hip Hop and Rock and, well, you get the idea
Brian Baker - CityBeat (Cincinnati weekly)
|MidPoint Music Festival - Neon's - 11pm - pop/rock
"There can't be many musicians in the Cincinnati scene working as hard as Beau Alquizola. In early 2004, he started the acoustic pop duo CoBo Moon, then went solo earlier this year. He's crafting a new album with The Newbees as his band, he works a duo with Kohai frontman Shaun Henry called Skylights and he's sung with pop outfit Pale Beneath the Blue. See him while he's in one place."
CD review: Beau Alquizola - Please Keep the Door Closed (2005 - Talavera Records)
Dale Johnson - I See Sound
|So, now it’s 3:30 A.M. , and you’re not quite as tired as you thought, because the call from your girlfriend a few minutes before has you tweaking a little. You’re kind of hungry, so you have a snack. You watch the tail end of some bad comedian’s act on cable, and then the phone rings again.
You figure it’s your girlfriend again, but, it’s not.
That guy. Your former Beau.
It’s late, you assume he’s drunk, but something tells you to take the call, you’re not sure what, but you do.
Your thumb is poised on “end”.
He starts off telling you how much he loves you until the “Time of Never”. He’s not much for small talk, this guy. You’re irritated, but he sounds so earnest, and his voice is so beautiful…wait. You don’t want to go down that road. He’s told you some things before and everybody got hurt. But…
His connection is crystal clear, you can hear every note of his voice - it’s clear and pristine, and is somewhere between a blue-eyed soul croon and Cat Stevens, but with more grit. Something in his voice lets you know that he knows that he screwed up and is trying to make amends. Most importantly, he’s not drunk, nor is he whining. He sees your point of view, and is pragmatic, but sensitive about the whole thing. He tells you that he’s “Drowning” in his love for you, and despite how nice it all is, your patience starts to ebb again and you’re going to tell him to knock it off, but then he says, “The night of the masquerade, I threw all misgivings aside,” and your shoulders stop tensing and you actually begin to listen to him. You’re surprised to find yourself fiddling with the ends of your hair, and you’re a little aggravated to find that you’re doing that, but, what can you do? You hear his heart coming through in his voice. He’s genuinely sorry, and genuinely sad, but he’s not looking for pity. He just sounds as if he can’t live another moment unless he says what he has to say to you.
Given all of that, you’re shocked after you hear yourself say, “Come on over,“ but not so shocked that you want to take it back.
You hang up, and you‘re a little nervous, but you have a smile on your face. You really don’t fix yourself up much, because you’re going to have him work for it a little more. You know that, based upon your conversation, he’ll be expecting that somewhat. And you know he’ll be happily up to the task.
The doorbell rings.
Key track - “Drowning”
Please Keep The Door Closed will be “officially” released in early November.
- Dale Johnson wants to be on the speed dial of your heart
Alquizola hosts CD release parties for "Please Keep the Door Closed "
Mike Breen - CityBeat (Cincinnati weekly)
|Compelling Cincinnati-based singer/songwriter Beau Alquizola has worked with R&B musicians, acoustic pluckers and rockers in his decade-plus career. The cross-section of cohorts is indicative of the diverse tone of his latest solo album, Please Keep the Door Closed, but the album is more the sound of a journeyman who seems to have finally landed home, in his own distinct aural bed of emotive acoustic Pop. His vocals are commanding, with a tinge of rasp and a tickle of quiver, resulting in a warm and familiar timbre that comes off like a voice-meld of Sam Cooke, Seal and Michael Stipe. The songs themselves are sturdily structured though not always instantly "catchy." But Alquizola's strength is the soulful weight he gives each track, creating an inviting aura that should keep interested listeners returning like cold hands to a fireplace in an arctic winter. In other words, Alquizola's a fine craftsman, but the impact is in the inviting décor as much as it is the outward architecture. Alquizola is assisted in the construction by a large cast of local music aces (including members of The Newbees, Kohai's Shaun Henry, Steven Gregory and Jeff Conner), and each does a good job of helping to add the proper atmosphere and mood for the singer's affecting vocal excursions. The album moves fluidly from rootsy Pop ("Play That Song," "Hard Workin' Woman") to uncomplicated but regal acoustic plaintiveness ("Seek What I'm After," "Time of Never") to songs that could be considered "Neo Soul" with a little tweaking (the fantastically smoldering "Ask Me Why"). Alquizola is at his finest in why'd-you-go ballad mode, where he best shows off the emotive nuances of his instrument. The sumptuous, cello-laden mini-epic "Unsightly" is the album's best track, while the pining, ultimately hopeful heartbreak song "Call It A Day" closes the disc in dramatic, climactic style. Alquizola sounds like he's singing into a telephone on the last track, adding a cool, theatrical effect. But know this -- there's nothing phoned in about Please Keep the Door Closed. Alquizola's passion bleeds through in every note sung. (Mike Breen) Grade: B+|
Hot Pop Rocker: Beau Alquizola
TT Clinkscales - CityBeat (Cincinnati weekly) 2006 Hot issue
|I remember us, the writer and the rocker, kicking back in front of the Hyde Park Coffee Emporium a couple of summers ago, dreaming about making an assault on the Cincinnati scene. Well, the rocker is charging ahead on his claim. Alquizola will be one of the featured acts at this year's Pride Alive Festival June 10 and then will be escaping the heat in the studio with the Beau Alquizola Band (Ben Schummer, Steven Gregory, Shaun Henry, Sharon Udoh and Matt Retherford) as they work on their first CD as a full band. The heat index began rising last year with Alquizola's debut disc, Please Keep the Door Closed, along with appearance at three national music festivals and the recent Fleetwood Mac Tribute here in town. To sample the flava, music lovers can download his songs from iTunes, check him out at www.beaumusic.com or scan CityBeat's music listings for a chance to catch a local performance. Dream on!|
TT Stern-Enzi - CityBeat (Cincinnati weekly) January 3, 2007 issue
|The O'Jays classic "Family Reunion" opens with the line, "It's so nice to see all the folks you love together," and that sentiment sums up my feelings as I entered the Poison Room on Dec. 9 for the CD release party for The Beau Alquizola Band's first disc Unbalanced. You see, I can take this comparison a bit further, too because as the song breaks down the roles of each family member, that night each of us -- musicians and non -- had a part to play.
In the dimly lit space, faces and relationships burned brightly and Alquizola was the filament that carried the current. As a point of full disclosure, I am a good friend of this singer/songwriter enjoying the local spotlight. Our ties go back about five years to a terribly brief period when we were members of the St. Agnes Church Choir. Although we joined at the same time, I didn't last a month. But Alquizola soon landed him a coveted spot as a solo cantor during weekly services.
I was always intrigued by the huge voice emanating from this compact man. Thunder and lightning seemingly stirred deep within his soul, causing his body to shake and shudder right before my eyes. It was only after we became friends that he confided in me that the shaking was a sign of nerves, a condition that still overtakes him every time he steps up to the mic, although he obviously uses this as motivation.
But we didn't become friends right away. We circled each other, establishing connections through common friends and associates before establishing our own bond. And throughout that time, I listened to that voice and I began to imagine it in other settings outside of the church. I pride myself on catching the Fleetwood Mac vibes I would come to realize were some of his favorites, but I also detected a new-jacked Soul singer who was a little "Crazy" for Seal, much like Sealhenry cops to a jonesing for some Marvin Gaye.
His love of music knows no bounds and it is a treat to share lunch on a sunny afternoon (or a late night snack) with him in front of Wild Oats in Rookwood accompanied by a reshuffled 1980s mix. He knows every singer (Howard Jones) and group (Bell Biv Devoe) and every song ("Who's That Girl?") and has stories to go along with each and every one.
We have created a narrative of our own, the freelance writer and the singer/songwriter, based on a shared belief that words and stories can change the world. And we've found that Italian sodas and a few slices of spinach ricotta pie are the natural resources to sustain the drive. That discovery came a few years back, when he started partnering with guitarists for acoustic duo bookings around town and I rarely missed a set. Morning-after debriefing and coffeehouse musings led to reimaginings of songs like "Drowning" (from last year's solo release Please Keep the Door Closed) and the conception of others like "Labyrinth" (a featured track on Unbalanced).
Between his appearances at last year's MidPoint Music Fest and the release party for Please Keep..., he had established relationships with a core group of players who would eventually become The Beau Alquizola Band and extended members of his musical clan. Newbees' keyboardist and vocalist Sharon Udoh swings with Alquizola. Drummer J. Matt Retherford keeps time with the band Wojo, who happens to have a keyboardist named Luke Alquizola (Beau and Luke are brothers, not cousins). Each of the three featured guitarists in the band (Steven Gregory, Shaun Henry and Ben Schummer) also has a side band project or two.
Various players also became part of my extended family. I remember when Alquizola introduced me to Steven Gregory, the percussive acoustic picker who does mean covers of Oasis and Paul Simon during gigs at Allyn's Cafe. His version of "The Only Living Boy in New York" has surpassed Everything But the Girl's as my all-time favorite, which is no small feat. In fact, as I was planning music for my wedding not so long ago -- a tough job made more difficult due to the fact that I was marrying a singer, so the stakes were high indeed -- I made a special request to have Alquizola and Gregory team up for a take on "Be Your Husband," Jeff Buckley's a cappella re-imagining of a Nina Simone tune. Unfortunately Gregory had to back out, thwarting one sonic dream, yet Alquizola's tapping of djembe player Patrick Gilligan as a last-minute replacement added another family member into the fold.
Gilligan was one of the first musicians I crossed paths with at the release. Smiles, congratulations and hugs ensued and then, like a receiving line, I found myself among old and current co-workers of Alquizola's and friends from his karaoke days -- and even a few church folk calling and responding to the latest verses of our lives. And, of course, musicians ... well, they were everywhere. You could throw a guitar pick in the crowd and the odds are good that it would touch someone able to fill in a chord or three.
Ryan Adcock, The Newbees and Wojo (the actual closers that night) laid out sets for the faithful with rock-solid timing and rousing moments, but everyone deferred to the evening's host and master of ceremonies. The Alquizola crew took the stage in revolving smaller units with various guitarists and background vocalists being called up for a moment before they rejoined the audience family, our tight-knit universal family waiting to be taken higher. Beau must be our Sly, and we are the stone foundation of his pop-rocking groove.
Amen, Brother, until the next time.
Beau Gets 'Unbalanced'
Mike Breen - CityBeat (Cincinnati weekly) review of CD "Unbalanced"
|The Beau Alquizola Band celebrates its debut release, Unbalanced, Saturday at downtown's Poison Room. Joining the group for the release show are Wojo, The Newbees and Ryan Adcock.
Alquizola moved to Cincinnati in the early '00s from Florida and quickly ingratiated himself into the local music scene, collaborating with numerous fellow artists. His newfound friends helped out on his solo album, Please Keep the Door Closed, which came out last year, right around the time Alquizola began assembling a band. Unbalanced finds that talented band firmly in place and they prove to be a perfect, tasteful complement for the singer/songwriter's acoustic-based Pop/Rock. Longtime collaborator, guitarist Shaun Henry (also frontman for his own band, Kohai), lends electric and acoustic guitars, putting a little "alt" dirt under the fingernails of Alquizola's elegant songs, such as the distorted wash on "Deceived" and "Unsightly 2.0." Sharon Udoh (also a solo singer/songwriter) provides supple piano and background vocals throughout, while drummer J Matt Retherford (also of Wojo), bassist Noah Diamond and singer/guitarist Ben Schummer round out the sextet. The album -- co-written by Alquizola with various band members and others -- also features cameos from singer/songwriters like Jeff Conner and Steven Gregory.
As on Please Keep the Door Closed, a focal point remains Alquizola's magnetic voice, a versatile, rhythmic and distinct instrument that resonates like a distant cousin of Cat Stevens. Unbalanced glides from soulful, gentle balladry like "The Ones ..." and "Shining In the Light" to more upbeat fare like "Doors" and "Go On Try," all painted with flawless harmonies, counter-melodies and interesting additives, like the minimalist percussion on "Lost" and the string/synth sounds on the title track. But the material occasionally gets a little earnest and snoozy it's largely stuff fit for Adult Contemporary radio formats and the album sometimes falls into a "here we go again" rut. Alquizola's lyrics are often refreshingly intimate and revealing, but at times get a little too high-school diary-esque ("It's the labyrinth of time/It's the labyrinth of love/It's the labyrinth of frustration/It's the labyrinth of trust" goes one particularly cringe-worthy stanza on "Labyrinth").
Unbalanced does not live up to its title -- contrarily, it is perfectly balanced, which causes some of the lulling effect. The musicians are solid and Alquizola's voice has never sounded better, but the material sometimes lacks and too few risks are taken. Still, Unbalanced is a smart, mature Pop/Rock album with an endearingly organic vibe that rings with honesty and is devoid of even a whiff of pretension.
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