Culture,  Music

The Brilliance of Carter Beauford

Carter BeaufordNot many people know this, but once upon a time I used to be a drummer. I’m afraid the only time my drums get played anymore is when the worship band takes the stage at the Criswell College where I teach, and the guy playing my drums is definitely not me. This is for the best, since even when I was at the peak of my drumming powers, I wasn’t all that good.But when I see Carter Beauford play, it makes me wish I had practiced more. Carter Beauford is one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen. Most people know him as the guy who plays with Dave Matthews, but my favorite pop album of his is the album “Running on Ice” that he recorded with Vertical Horizon.

That being said, when I came across this video today of Beauford playing, I just had to share. I don’t even think you have to be a drummer to see the brilliance of Carter Beauford. Nor do you have to be a drummer to know that virtuosity is a gift from the Maker whose image we all bear.

One Comment

  • dennyrburk

    1. Faimon Says:
      I think we can agree that Carter Beauford’s drumming is divine. The question is: What if learned to play that way from a woman?
    2. Paul Says:

      I’m a drummer too. For more disastrous results for drummers’ egos everywhere, check out the following guys…

      Vinnie Colaiuta
      Dave Weckl
      Tony Williams (my personal favorite)
      Chad Wackerman
      Jon Fishman
      Dennis Chambers (Carter Beauford’s most obvious influence)

      Carter is definitely a force to be reckoned with behind a drumset.

      That said…Vertical Horizon? Somebody needs to hook you up with a snobby record store clerk for a shopping spree, my man…



    3. dennyrburk Says:
      As long as you learn the rudiments from a man, you’ll b okay. :)
    4. Andy Says:

      As far as I am concerned you are now three for three in my book for your 1) blogs on theology; 2)blog on Agassi; and 3)your blog on Carter. I have to say, however, that some of the best drumming I have seen has been done by Steve Gadd.


    5. Paul Says:
      Gadd is indeed a monster of a drummer. However, for pure dash, flash and panache I gotta reiterate Vinnie and Dennis. And, on the jazz side, for anyone willing to dip their toe in those waters, you can’t forget Elvin Jones, either.
    6. The Hoodlum Says:
      Neil Peart…my all time favorite. Master of time change.
    7. Paul Says:
      Also the master of pointlessness. A drummer’s main job is to lay down grooves. In a rock setting, danceable grooves.

      Neil don’t do that.


    8. BJoslin Says:
      I am not a drummer, but I love good drumming. I forget what his style is exactly (there is a term for it, and “awesome” is not the one). He is fantastic. I watched the video 3 times. When he changes sticks without losing a beat and then plays the cymbal BEHIND him without looking, well, that is just freakish. Wow.

      Post more.

      PS-Did someone say Vertical Horizon? One of the best rock bands anywhere. Matt Scannell is one of the best guitarists. Period.

    9. Paul Says:
      Mr. Joslin,

      If Matt Scannell is one of the best guitarists period, I suggest you take a listen to any (or all) of the following:

      Fareed Haque
      Danny Gatton
      Vince Gill
      Grant Green
      David Gilmore
      Jeff Beck
      Eric Johnson
      Pat Martino
      John Moulder
      John McLean
      Jerry Garcia
      Steve Kimmock
      John Bell
      Trey Anastasio
      Marc Ford
      Andreas Kapsalis
      and the best guitarist that I’ve ever seen, heard or played with: Jeff Parker.

      Those guys would all smoke the guy in vertical horizon without breaking a sweat.

    10. The Hoodlum Says:
      Paul –

      Your ERRONEOUS assumption is that Rush wanted to make “danceable” music. I can’t dance…I don’t dance…I won’t dance. Imagine Elaine from Seinfeld. All the more reason to like Neil…IMHO. When you can play a drumset better than Neil…you have my permission to say “yuck”. Until then…SHUT IT (in my best Mike Myers impersonation – So I Married An Axe Murderer)!

      For the internet impaired…this post is in jest. Just poking fun at Paul for dis-crediting Neil Peart.

    11. Gary Says:
      Back to the original post, this is a beautiful clip. I haven’t kept up with drummers since John Bonham but the subtley and understated smooth speed of Beauford is uplifting.

      BTW, I learned my fundamentals from a woman. I never came close to being as good as she was.

      Thanks for a worthwhile post.

    12. Paul Says:

      Neil is an awesome drummer. There’s no denying his chops. However, I personally feel that there’s a sesne of pompous grandeur to everything that Rush does that makes me ill.

      Insofar as playing his stuff, playing is never the hard part. Listen, break it down, figure out the hand movements, play it slow, play it at speed. No sweat. The thing that makes Neil (and Carter Beauford, and John Bonham, and Ginger Baker, and Elvin Jones, and Tony Williams) so good is that he thought of it. True greatness isn’t in the chops, it’s in the execution of those chops.

      That said, I can’t stand Rush, I can’t stand Neil (catch the very first Buddy Rich scholarship video for a good laugh at Neil’s expense), and I stand by my original…yuck.

    13. Debbie Wimmers Says:
      I think YES has the best music, with Pink Floyd a close second.

      I can’t stand the new rock music. I do like RUSH. Especially 2112.

    14. BJoslin Says:
      Hold the phone. You are saying that Jerry Garcia could outplay Matt Scannell? Not even on his best day. Are you high? No freakin’ way. Scannell would also smoke Vince Gill. You left off Brad Paisley and Roy Clark who can flat blow. Also, you need to take a listen to John Mayer’s trio album (TRY), especially the song, “Who Did You Think I Was.” Not his radio stuff, mind you, but this song is pregnant with tone. What about Phil Keaggy? Clapton? And though you might not like the style, you can’t deny the influence of Eddie VH and Jimi Hendrix. Those guys were innovators, depsite their broad appeal.

      That said, you have listed some great players. Thanks for bringing Danny Gatton and Jeff Beck to mind. I love those guys and it’s been a while since I gave them a spin. But Garcia? No way!

    15. Paul Says:

      Here’s the questions re: Jerry Garcia:

      1) Ever hear stuff circa 1968-1970 or 1973? Man, he CAN cut it up.

      2) Harmonically, he was a WAY interesting player. He totally came out of jazz, and you can hear it not only in his phrasing, but also in his use of upper structure harmony. THAT’S why all of the hippie clones can never master him.

      3) Also, check out his albums with David Grisman. Those are great.

      I mentioned Vince Gill on the merit of a You Tube video I saw of him with Danny Gatton, almost keeping up with Danny. He might not do it often, but he’s certainly capable.

      I didn’t mention Clapton, Hendrix or EVH because I figured they were obvious choices. It’s far too easy to be like, “Great guitarist? Why of course, EC!” So, I left him off. Although, speaking of EVH, check out Stanley Jordan sometime. Essentially jazz’s answer to Eddie.

      Honestly, never checked out Keaggy. I was long ago scared off of Christian Rock, though I would love a recommendation or two of some really rippin’ stuff. A lot easier to swallow fellow Christians making good music than doing my best to tune out the words to Tool songs.

    16. BJoslin Says:
      If you have the video link to Gill and Gatton, I’d love to see that. I too forgot about Jordan, I have admired him since introduced to him in college.

      Eric Johnson was another choice. So too Michael Hedges, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Joe Satriani. Man, there are/have been some good players out there. Another obvious choice was SRV. I still remember where I was when I heard SRV and Double Trouble the first time. It’s like the world stopped moving until that song was over. Mine sure did.

      I know what you mean about Christian music (that is truly a subject for another post Denny!), but Keaggy has flown under the radar for quite some time. For acoustic stuff, check out his instrumental “Beyond Nature,” where he utilizes alternate tunings and brilliant melodies to produce a truly artistic album. For electric, let’s see . . . you’ll almost always find him playing an old Les Paul through a Vox AC30 and doing so at dizzying speeds. His old stuff (early 70’s) is with his band Glass Harp. “Crimson and Blue” is a good intro to his solo music (or “Master and the Musician,” “True Believer” “Time 1 and 2″), but see esp. the track “Doin’ Nothin’ ” from Crimson and Blue. The last 4 minutes of the song is simply a jam. “The Revelator EP” is a short little rarity that has 5 songs, most of which are 8-12 minutes long, and showcase his freakish abilities. I think you might enjoy it.

      BTW, I am glad that someone recognizes that great playing in NOT only (or even primarily) about speed, but note choice and phrasing, fluidity, and harmonies. Send me a couple of your favs that I might be able to find on iTunes.

      I was a music major in college, and it is nice to dialogue with a fellow music lover, esp. a guitarist!

    17. Paul Says:

      first off, while I too was a music major in college (with an AA’s in business and poli sci…the beauty of working at a college), I’m a drummer who has learned everything he knows about guitarists from playing with lots of them. Not only by figuring out who they like, but also by seeing that tone, phrasing, pacing finally speed are what make for truly enjoyable playing situations. When you play with guys who phrase really well, as a drummer, you can truly play with them and off of them (and them off of you) as opposed to the rippin’ speed guys, who you can only play behind. And if it’s boring for me in the band, I can only imagine how boring it must be for people in the audience.

      I will grab the link for the Gatton and Gill thing when I get home, so expect it sometime this weekend.

      As for SRV, I understand what you’re saying, but I’ve always heard him as a perfect mimic as opposed to someone who ever truly got to saying his own things. Maybe if he’d have lived, he would have gotten to that point. But I can certainly understand guitarists being enthralled.

      Insofar as things to check out on ITunes, if they’re there, check out the following:

      anything by Jeff Parker, but especially his solo album on Thrill Jockey. That thing is way cool. And every time I play it for a guitarist, they just shake their heads and smile.

      If the Grateful Dead’s Dicks Picks are available, check out anything from 1968-70, and really check out anything from 72-73. Jerry and Keith Godcheaux (their pianist at the time) REALLY hooked up well. Jerry wasn’t on heroin yet, and Keith wasn’t a big cokehead yet either. And with only one drummer at the time, Phil Lesh (the bass player) was able to stretch a lot further. I only wish I was old enough to have caught that stuff the first time around (I’m 31).

      I don’t think Fareed Haque has anything readily available, but his rock band, Garaj Mahal might. If they do, be prepared to be slackjawed. And their drummer sounds like I do when I play rock music.

      Thanks for the tips on Keaggy. I will check those out as soon as I can. That’d be cool.

      Nice chatting with you,


    18. Paul Says:
      As promised, Danny Gatton, Vince Gill and Albert Lee:

      enjoy it!

    19. BJoslin Says:
      That’s awesome! I found more Gatton stuff on UTube as well, but that was a great video. Gatton blew them away, but Gill can rip it up too.

      Many thanks for the link.

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