Ed Hale‘s latest solo album, the acoustic leaning ‘whisper pop’ CD entitled Ballad On Third Avenue was voted “One of Best Albums of 2009” by New Times Magazine. The end of year edition came out of the tri-county wide South Florida area where Hale first got his start in the seminal underground band Broken Spectacles along with Americana Music pioneer Matthew Sabatella when the two were in college.
Music critic Lee Zimmerman wrote,
“Bundled in sumptuous arrangements and a prog-rock posture, Ed Hale’s regular gig with Transcendence sometimes seemed to overshadow his true worth as a songwriter. Happily, Hale’s solo debut remedies that by emphasizing the songs’ emotional content rather than their window dressing. The support cast is still terrific – among the members are several Transcendence bandmates – but what truly shines are some brooding, introspective tunes informed by a sense of quiet contemplation.”
“Fact is, Hale’s always been quite the entrepreneur. His Dying Van Gogh label has fostered some of South Florida’s most talented artists, among them Dreaming in Stereo’s Fernando Perdomo and Ex Norwegian’s Roger Houdaille. It still provides him a local connection, even though he’s relocated to New York, where he now finds the muse best suited to his ambitions. Even so, Ballad on Third Avenue isn’t restricted to any particular setting — “Scene in San Francisco,” “New Orleans Dreams,” and “Thoughts of California” reference various locales while maintaining a solitary sense of longing and desire. Consequently, only “I Walk Alone” emulates the sweep and spectacle of Transcendence. However, like the songs that surround it, it maintains a lowered gaze, making this Hale’s most intimate and alluring set yet.”
– Lee Zimmerman
Artist: Ed Hale
Album: Ballad on Third Avenue
By L. Anne Carrington
How does one describe the newly released work of Ed Hale’s Ballad on Third Avenue? Perhaps one way would be a soft intimacy of acoustic and pop sounds that will make the listener feel comfortable right from the beginning of the album’s very first track. Ballad on Third Avenue may also take one back to the days of Bright Eyes, Simon and Garfunkel, and maybe a little Beatles thrown in for good measure. The lead singer of the popular Brit Pop/modern rock band Transcendence who have scored numerous hit singles and have had songs featured in films and television shows over the years, Hale made a side trip into the recording studio and made his own album. The end result was Ballad on Third Avenue, a brilliant blend of acoustic guitars, pianos, organs, xylophones, cello lines, and mellotron that may not have worked for many artists, but it certainly has paid off for Ed Hale in more ways than one. Hale is not always the easiest performer to keep up with; his style is always changing in his roles of writer, populist blogger, controversial YouTube star, outspoken political activist, or civilian diplomat. In his first solo effort, however, he can add another accomplishment to his list: creating a magnificent album that instantly draws in even the most finicky music aficionado and holds them there until the very end.