On the tour in support of his new release, “Sunset Over Hope Street” (Mercer Street), singer-songwriter Ari Hest travels light: for every show, he’s accompanied solely by his own acoustic guitar and percussion, which gives him a chance to approach the music in a more organic form than on the record, where he plays with a full back-up.
Hest took some time to finish “Sunset,” an album that is quite different from his previous effort, “52,” in which he wrote, recorded and released a new single a week for an entire year. (The concept of “instant music” isn’t exactly new: John Lennon unsuccessfully attempted to do the same in 1969.) The songs on this record are highly personal, and deal with various topics—including “Business of America,” where he openly denounces the naysayers who see health care for all as a form of socialism. The poignant title track ponders the opportunities we’ve missed over the course of time.
Hest exudes great charm and charisma live. With great guitar technique, he plays using several different tunings (speaking to him after a gig, he mentioned using an open D). His baritone fits the music well—you can’t really pigeonhole him in a single genre, as he gravitates from folk to country rock and pop seamlessly—which makes it for a diverse and very enjoyable show. (Ernest Barteldes)
March 11 at Schubas, 3159 North Southport, (773)525-2508, 7pm and 10:30pm. $15-$18.