Ari Hest's Latest Is a Winner

Charleston City Paper | May 30, 2007
Touring in support of his brand-new collection, The Break-In (Red Ink/Columbia), Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Ari Hest, drummer Scott Seiver, and bassist Rob Calder headline this Friday night at the [].

“It is a mellow record and it kinda fits my personality more than previous recordings,” says Hest, 27. “I used to be a little more aggressive and pop-rock, maybe. Now, it’s a bit more folky. It has different elements that weren’t there before. So far, the reaction has been really good. Live, the songs are easier for me to sing, too — they lend a little more to my voice.”

Hest recorded the album last year with veteran producer Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Elvis Costello, Suzanne Vega, Los Lobos, Ron Sexsmith) in the producer’s low-key home studio. It’s a fully-realized follow-up to his previous, low-budget indie releases. Hest may appear to be young, but his voice and his lyrics resemble those of an experienced, road-weary veteran.

“The production on The Break-In is a little more sparse,” says the songwriter. “Mitchell is known for that — he did it with Crowded House and with Ron Sexsmith, and I wanted that kind of thing, too. He did a great job of helping me get that.”

What kind of rock ’n’ roll is this, exactly? There are elements of classic folk, rock, and more contemporary Americana — a bit mid-’70s Paul McCartney, early-’80s Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Springsteen…

“You know, I don’t call it ‘rock’ very often,” Hest chuckles. “Although things can get heavy and distorted from time to time … Mitchell described it to people he knew as ‘folk.’ I think at it’s barest, it is folk, all of the songs were created on acoustic guitar and built on from that. I’ve been all over the place, and I’m not one to stick with one style or music, but I think this stuff is simply folk music.”

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