Many singer-songwriters toil for months on their Macs, trying to make a demo that sounds polished enough to score them a record deal with a major label. But Ari Hest has done the exact opposite, as he continues to defy the conventional route of a musician.
Already signed to a major, he opted out of his label deal so that he could have more control over his art. He then embarked on his ambitious '52' project, during which he spent all of last year immersed in an unprecedented effort - to write, record, produce and release one new song per week, for 52 weeks in a row. Now, he will self-release his new studio CD, 'Twelve Mondays,' on March 10th. The album features reworked versions of 12 fan-selected songs, culled from the past year's extraordinary output.
It's a renegade path that reveals the 'New Music Industry' at its best, and allows Hest's impressive work to find the audience he wants it to find. 'Twelve Mondays' showcases the diversity of Hest's songwriting - from the haunting, minimasterpiece "Broken Voices" to the USA TODAY 'Listen Up Music Pick' "The Weight," which was praised as a "poignant, acoustic reverie…" -- From the wistful travelogue "Ride The Brake" to the radio-friendly "Dead End Driving," it's a remarkable mix that's distinguished by the intelligence, nuance and range of Hest's material. Add to that the fact that these songs were written amid the week-to-week gauntlet of '52', and it's all the more impressive.
Ari Hest "Delivered the Goods" - Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Hest's project was "Unprecedented" - FOX-TV Good Day Atlanta
USA TODAY has recently praised tracks from Twelve Mondays with TWO 'Listen Up Music Picks', highlighting both 'The Weight' and 'One, Two'...
"A prolific songwriter and a captivating live performer." - The Boston Globe
"A songwriting machine" - KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL
"Reason To Believe" ends the record in an almost U2 feel and is a powerful ending to a full and complete album." - The Album Project
A "prolific songwriter" - Time Out Chicago
"Call it cool, crazy, stressful, inventive. Ari Hest was on a creative streak in 2008." - Toledo Free Press
A "raspy voiced romantic" - Detroit Free Press
"Ari Hest achieved the extraordinary in 2008 by writing a song every week that listeners could download from his website. The best part: His songs are high-caliber and deeply heartfelt." PERFORMING SONGWRITER Magazine
"If songwriting were an Olympic sport, Ari Hest's specialty would be the marathon." - The Indianapolis Star
The Newark Star Ledger said that Hest impresses with "the simple eloquence of his songwriting."
"Although he may be a few decades too late to be called a beatnik, with his rejection of a major label, long hair and songs about chasing miracles, Hest would make Kerouac proud." - Cleveland Free Times