On July 25th, local musicians showed that the valley is full of talented performers and songwriters during Steamboat Mountain Music Festival in Edgewater.
Among the performers, Eli Beingessner set the stage on fire with his memorable guitar solos and his unmistakable musicianship. As always, Eli played with his dad, Marty, who he has been performing with since he was 15 years old.
“It is neat when you can sing and play with someone you are close to,” Eli said. “Our voices, because we are related, complement each other really well.”
Eli, 21, has been playing music since he was three, when he started learning the piano. He has since replaced keys with electric guitar strings, developing into a budding blues star.
“The thing I really like about the guitar is it is very expressive,” he said. “It is really easy to show emotion with it because you can bend the strings and make a note waver. Basically, you can manipulate the notes you are playing so you can put some more feeling into songs.”
Though he has played a variety of musical styles over the years with his dad, Eli is most passionate about rockin’ blues — a heavier version of the blues genre. But he has also kept another genre close to his heart.
“Because I grew up listening to my dad playing country music so much, there are little hints of country in me as well,” said Eli. “Those are the roots I always fall back on.”
As an accomplished songwriter, Eli’s performances include a mix of tunes he has penned himself and a collection of his favourite classics.
“People easily relate to covers because they have grown up with them and they have heard them before,” he said. “Once you get them engaged by doing something they recognize, they are more prone to listen to you and enjoy what you have written.”
In April, Eli graduated from the horticulture program at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. Even while working hard to complete the program, his training did not dilute his passion for music.
“My goal is to do something longterm with music,” he said. “Horticulture would be something to fall back on. Musically, I want to run a studio and be a studio musician.”
Eli’s dream is to record his own albums and record albums for other musicians who need an accompanying band. His other main goal is to keep performing for engaged audiences.
“Realistically, my type of music is not the most popular anymore,” he said. “I do not see myself getting incredible rich and famous, but I don’t need all that. As long as I am playing my music and I have an audience that is appreciating what I am doing, I am happy.”
Though Eli is now back to living full-time in the valley, he sees himself moving elsewhere to follow his dreams.
“Longterm, I think I probably want to move to a bigger centre where there is more happening musically,” he said.
For now, Eli is happy to play events like Steamboat and the weekly farmer’s market at the Crossroads.
“There is a nice stage up there at the Crossroads and they even have a nice big tent and picnic tables, so people can sit and listen to music,” he said.
Looking back on his six years of performing in the valley, Eli said playing with his dad has moulded him into the versatile musician he is today.
“Me and my dad both do different kinds of music, so it has forced us to widen-out,” Eli said. “I play stuff that is a little more energetic than what he does, so I force him to speed up, and he forced me to sit back and relax.”
Recently, he released a CD full of original tunes — 6 Foot 2, Wild and Blue is available on iTunes and at Bliss Hair & Esthetics in Invermere.
While Eli does not know exactly what the future will hold, he knows it will involve music, and lots of it.