Billy Beale

If you've spent time haunting Broadway-corridor dives like the News Room and Fitz's Blarney Stone, there's a good chance you've run across Billy Beale playing a gig. The 58-year-old has pierced ears and a white pompadour that he tends to cover up with a fedora. He favors a loosely buttoned shirt with a pack of Lucky Strikes in the chest pocket. Among the decorative ink stains that blanket his body are the words HARD TIME, tattooed across his knuckles.

But Beale is reluctant to publicly discuss just how much hard time he's done and what offenses might have landed him in the clink. For him, the real story is the blues. He refers to himself as a "blues preservationist," having watched the local scene evolve over the past 40-odd years.



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