Beard Bands: 8 Bearded Bands and Artists to Listen to Now
From Italian composer Giuseppi Verdi to Frank Zappa, Lemmy, and Rick Rubin, musicians have given us some of the most iconic facial hair styles of all time. Where would the Chevron mustache be without Freddy Mercury? Nowhere good, that’s where.
Every day, more than 60,000 new songs get uploaded to Spotify. Suffice it to say, there’s a whole lot of good music out there that isn’t getting heard.
So today, we’re not talking about Beardbrand—we’re talking about beard bands and highlighting eight bearded and mustachioed bands/artists worth checking out.
Scroll through, find some new music, and Keep on Growing.
When you look at JP Harris's biography and then at his beard, you say, “yeah, this all makes sense.” Harris spent years traveling the country, hitchhiking and hopping freight trains while making his living as a farm laborer, shepherd, woodsman, and carpenter, among many other titles. He’s a country singer, but one closely related to the early days of folk music—Woodie Guthrie, etc. Harris doesn’t fancy himself so much a musician as he does a carpenter who writes country songs. He just so happens to write very good country songs.
Check out “When I Quit Drinking” from his 2018 release, Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing.
Arlo McKinley released his first album at the age of 35. A few years later, the Cincinnati native was signed to John Prine’s record label, Oh Boy Records. Two albums later, and into his 40s, McKinley has developed a strong following in the Americana music scene for his deeply personal songs and booming voice. McKinley lays it all out on the line every time.
The Sheepdogs are a Canadian rock band formed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in 2004. They toe the line between classic rock and psychedelic rock. In true psychedelic fashion, every member of The Sheepdogs rocks an impeccable beard or mustache. Seriously, check out the sweet horseshoe mustache and mutton chop combo on bass player Ryan Gullen.
Nick Shoulders doesn't have a beard, but he does have the best mullet and mustache combo in music. He’s also the best yodeler, whistler, and one of the most entertaining performers you can see live. He also plays trumpet solos without a trumpet. Listening to Shoulders feels like listening to country music on an AM radio in the 1930s but in a way that somehow doesn’t feel dated.
Check out “Rather Low” from his 2019 album, Okay, Crawdad.
Robert Finley has played music semi-professionally for most of his life but didn’t break through until he was in his 60s. Born in Louisiana and legally blind from glaucoma, Finley is about as close as you get to a modern-day mix of Booker T. and the MGs, James Brown, and B. B. King. Finley’s latest record, Sharecropper’s Son, was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.
CHARLES WESLEY GODWIN
A native of West Virginia, Charles Wesley Godwin makes cinematic country-folk that's as gorgeous and ruggedly raw as his homeland. It's Appalachian Americana, rooted in Godwin's sharp songwriting and backwoods baritone. With 2021's How the Mighty Fall, he trades the autobiographical lyrics that filled Seneca — his acclaimed debut, released in 2019 and celebrated by everyone from Rolling Stone to NPR's Mountain Stage — for a collection of character-driven songs about mortality, hope, and regret, putting an intimate spin on the universal concerns we all share.
Check out Godwin performing “Seneca Creek” solo, off his 2019 album, Seneca.
If you consider yourself a fan of blues music—particularly delta and Piedmont blues—and aren’t listening to Charlie Parr, you’re missing out. Parr is everything you need in a tried-and-true bluesman—a little old, a little wiry, a little grouchy, and packing just enough lyrical wit to make it all work.
Check out Charlie Parr playing “1922 Blues” below.
The career of Ted Hawkins was strange. On the one hand, he sold out venues in Europe and Asia. On the other hand, he spent most of his time in the U.S. busking at Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Hawkins never quite caught on, and when he did, it was fleeting. The closest thing to a breakthrough he had was signing a deal with Geffen Records for his first major release, The Next Hundred Years, released in 1994. Hawkins died of a stroke just a few months after its release. There has been a bit of a posthumous Ted Hawkins revival over the past couple of years. The true genius of Hawkins’ voice and work are best displayed on his 1982 album, Watch Your Step.
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Keep on Growing.
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Header photo credit: Talitatwoshoes, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons