Ballad On Third Avenue, the latest solo album from singer-songwriter Ed Hale, continued its climb up the CMJ Top 200 Chart this week jumping thirty spots to land at #145 on the college radio airplay-driven chart. According to MediaGuide and MediaBase tracking, the songs receiving the most airplay are “I Walk Alone,” “Incompatible,” and the album’s title track, a power-pop “Born to Run” for the Millenium Generation nicknamed “Beautiful Losers.” The Simon and Garfunkelesqe “It Feels Too Good” is also receiving a good number of spins. Just under four-hundred college and community radio stations across the United States and Canada are reporting spinning tracks from the singer’s first solo album in several years – making it the most successful and highest charting album in Hale’s fifteen year career. Key cities picked up last week included Philadelphia’s WKDU, WBWC out of Cleveland, and Baltimore’s XTSR. Fans of Hale’s “dayjob” – fronting the Britpop/alt-rock super-group Transcendence – might be taken by surprise by the softer, more mellow sound of the new disc, a collection of eleven intimately recorded and exclusively acoustic songs (not one electric guitar to be heard on the album’s forty-plus minutes), but Hale’s vulnerable confessional lyricism and the songs’ sparse instrumentation have if anything only broadened his audience. Interestingly the most rotated song from the album at college radio, “I Walk Alone,” also happens to be the first single at commercial radio. After fifteen years of alt-rock radio love, the first single from Balladis instead being picked up for airplay by Adult Contemporary and Triple A stations across the US, making a potential crossover hit the next stop in the singer’s adventurous and noteworthy career, one that has been consistently marked by experimentation and forays into the unexpected.

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