Ryan Beattie is a talented, prolific musician and performer based out of Victoria, BC who remains one of the hidden gems of Canadian indie music. Fronting two acts, group project Chet, as well as the more intimate and solo-based Himalayan Bear moniker, he truly is a diamond in the rough. Both are stylistically unique enough for separate articles, but for the sake of brevity I’ll summarize them in one fell swoop. With a voice like velvet mixed with peanut butter, and guitar playing where every strum and accentuation has meaning, I don’t think I’ll ever bore of his accompaniment. Traversing folk, Hawaiian, indie rock, and for lack of a better term, pirates’ beach side lounge music, Beattie effortlessly relays his stories with earnest and convincing delivery. Dripping in heartache, regret, conviction, bitter memory and desperation, the listener can’t help but empathize with his uncanny passion. With these songs, you’re gently whisked away to an island beach-side hammock, swinging back and forth under a palm tree, watching as the last hazy mirage of a long-lost love sails away, leaving you marooned with nothing but a bottle of whiskey and the lull of ukelele and castanets.
Over the last decade, Beattie has released 4 Chet albums (my favourite being “Kau’ai”), and 3 as Himalayan Bear (all remarkable, especially “Lo, Lonesome Island”), with no evidence of letting up any time soon. You can find most of it on iTunes and the rest here (http://himalayanbear.bandcamp.com/).
Chet: Antarctica (http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/Chet)… crooning conviction.
Himalayan Bear: Beyond the Reef (http://himalayanbear.bandcamp.com/track/beyond-the-reef)… see you in the tropics.