Exceeding All Expectations, Ari Hest's 52 Experiment is an Indie Success
Fans to Select 12 Favorite Tracks for Hest's Next CD
Tour Dates Confirmed for NY, IN, IL, TX, OK, NC, TN, GA, AL, SC
Ari Hest's ambitious 52
project began this past January as an experiment: could an independent artist write, produce, record and release one new song every week, for 52 weeks in a row? Would fans embrace the effort, and spend $20 (38 cents-per-song) for a 52-week subscription? Would the quality of the songs grow or diminish?
Now 30 weeks into the 52
campaign, the answer is clear on all fronts: Hest's effort has been a success, both artistically as well as from an entrepreneurial standpoint. The initial goal of 1000 subscribers was met within weeks, and continues to expand each month. Most of all, the triumph can be heard in the nuance, experimentation and diversity of Hest's songwriting, which has stretched the boundaries of his past work, and delivered him to a new terrain frequented by the likes of Marc Cohn, Aimee Mann, Patty Griffin and Damien Rice. Click here
for a sampling.
Critics agree that Hest is on to something special. BILLBOARD said: Hest scores with subscription-based package." And BLENDER Magazine, which recently profiled Ari Hest 'In The Studio', described the 52
project as follows: Home recording technology, Internet distribution and a mobilized fan base merge with Ari Hest's 52, a concept album" with an intriguing concept: an album determined by online voting. Every week, the New York City songwriter is releasing a new song via online subscription, and at the end of 52 weeks, subscribers will decide which...songs will comprise his next full-length record. He's just crossed the halfway point, and unlike Rick Wakeman's medieval rock opera on ice, the concept seems to be working."
The Newark Star Ledger said that Hest impresses with the simple eloquence of his songwriting." Cleveland Free Times noted: 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." Las Vegas Review Journal observed: He's an established musician with a pair of major label albums under his belt, looking for a new business model that takes advantage of the current state of the music industry, where home recording technology and the Internet are enabling artists and consumers to wrest the power away from the major labels."
Under constant pressure to create, Hest has delivered a diverse and surprisingly strong body of music thus far, finding a home somewhere on the path where Elliot Smith meets Peter Gabriel. And there's much more to come, as Hest moves beyond the midway-point of this '52 Songs in 52 Weeks' gauntlet.
Hest comments that the goal was to challenge himself: My main concern, back when I started in January, was that, while I knew I could write that many songs, I didn't know if I'd be able to present them so that each one sounded unique." His songwriting and performances have evolved as the 52
journey unfolded week-by-week, and Hest wryly observes that he's ended up using instruments, sounds and styles that a more conventional situation might not have required: A number of household items have made appearances thus far, including bottles, pots and pans, cereal boxes, salt and pepper dispensers and utensils."
is complete, Hest will invite fans to choose their 12 favorite tracks...those songs will then be remastered and released as Ari Hest's next studio CD, in early '09.
Until then, Hest continues writing, touring and creating new music. In addition, he has composed the score for DreamRiders," a documentary set to air on the Travel Channel later this year.
ARI HEST ON TOUR:
Aug 7, 2008 The Living Room New York, NY 21+ $15
Aug 13, 2008 Watercolor Caf Larchmont, NY $20
Aug 22, 2008 Kessler House Concert Series Indianapolis, IN $15
Aug 24, 2008 Ginos Place Danville, IL 21+ $10
Sep 2, 2008 Cactus Caf Austin, TX $12
Sep 3, 2008 The Blue Door Oklahoma City, OK $20
Sep 4 & 5, 2008 Bend Studio Dallas, TX $18
Sep 6, 2008 Bend Studio Houston, TX $18
Sep 10, 2008 Evening Muse Charlotte, NC $8
Sep 11, 2008 Rhythm and Brews Chattanooga, TN $8
Sep 13, 2008 Eddie's Attic Atlanta, GA $15 Co-Headlining with Basia Bulat
Sep 14, 2008 Exit Inn Nashville, TN
Sep 15, 2008 Workplay Birmingham, AL $12
Sep 17, 2008 The Grey Eagle Asheville, NC $10
Sep 18, 2008 Local 506 Chapel Hill, NC
Sep 19, 2008 The Pour House Raleigh, NC $8
Sep 20, 2008 Music On Maxwell Greenville, SC $20
Sep 21, 2008 Village Tavern Mt Pleasant, SC $8
Sep 26, 27, 28, 2008 Deep Roots Music Festival Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada