Ballad On Third Avenue

The new album from multi-faceted singer/songwriter Ed Hale of the indie rock/power pop outfit Transcendence is entitled Ballad On Third Avenue and is a melodic feast that should appeal to the same audience that loves the music of Wes Anderson films, the Garden State soundtrack, Simon & Garfunkel, Nick Drake, Bright Eyes, or Coldplay. Known for being unabashedly willing to take risks on and off stage, on his first solo outing in years, Hale cranked down the volume and slowed things down, way down with Ballad. Not one electric guitar was used on the album. Instead Hale and producer and fellow Transcendence bandmate Fernando Perdomo (of Dreaming In Stereo) crafted a moving and delicate acoustic pop record that features a sparse but lush arrangement of pianos, a variety of acoustic guitars, cellos, flutes, organs, mellotron, tambourine, and handclaps that serve as the perfect backdrop to the most personal and intimate lyrics Hale has ever recorded. Another surprising twist, five of the album’s eleven songs were cowritten with up and comer lyricist Tyler Bejoian. Ballad On Third Avenue just might increase Ed Hale’s brand name recognition in the national spotlight more than any of the prior eight albums he has released over the last ten years owing to the fact that the album still feels and sounds comfortably edgy and independent – so should easily please long-time fans in the indie world; “Hello My Dove,” the title track “Beautiful Losers,” and “Incompatible,” are classic Ed Hale melody and over the top high drama and passion. But Ballad also sounds surprisingly commercial at some points. The first song on the album “Scene In San Francisco” could be James Blunt, Five For Fighting, or David Gray. The second song and first single “I Walk Alone” will be the first Ed Hale song, with or without Transcendence, to ever go to commercial Top 40 hit radio. Other standout tracks on the album are the Irresistibly catchy “It Feels Too Good” and “Architect’s Daughter,” as well as the six-plus minute political flame-thrower “New Orleans Dreams.”

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