by Meaghan Paulosky
Look at any review of an Ari Hest performance and you’ll find the same phrases: “…amazing live” and “…he has so much feeling…” Eventually it starts to resonate with you that this guy is the real deal. He isn’t some cut, processed and manufactured commodity that gets shipped out to the Teen Choice Awards every year. He’s an artist that feels what he is singing and actually has to be inspired for music to be written – a revolutionary idea, huh?
As he reflectively states, “Music is an extension of myself, not somebody who puts on a show in the sense of a different persona…you’ll find the same guy on the record as is on stage.” He’s not kidding either. He is as mellow and fluid in his music as he is in his personal life. Unlike many other full-time musicians, he went to college and has his degree. In music? Nope, a degree in communications. According to him it’s, “[what you] don’t plan that makes things most interesting.” So after graduating, Hest embarked on his now twelve-year-old professional music career.
Taking inspiration from wherever it may be, Hest has strung together a lengthy collection of full-length albums, EP’s, and soundtrack appearances, about fourteen in all. With all of this songwriting, his home in Brooklyn is there to act as muse. It is so “filled with artistic influences…art, music, the cultural surroundings” that the simple, every day parts of life help him to write and create. For Hest, an idea can start with something as simple as “going to the post office.” It may seem like a mundane and tedious task, but that is where us lowly commoners fall short. In this mundane and tedious post office there is life. Where there is life there is art and Hest is there to interpret it. Finding the extraordinary in normality is what transcends musicians and has the passion for liberating art.
It is the remarkable hold on reality that blends so exquisitely with his gentle voice and dexterous guitar playing to create meaningful songs of love and life. The music industry is teeming with old talent that has been squashed out for the sake of the masses and replaced with robotic and forced emotions. Live performances become strained and albums become bogus. You won’t find this with Ari Hest. He can play his music and play it well.
If you want to hear for yourself, listen to his newest album The Fire Plays or see him live at the Tin Angel on December 4th. Or just do both.