Al Hidalgo

Al Hidalgo


". . . Uniquely simple, infectious melodies and inventive arrangements create a new sound: melodic indie pop . . ."


Singer/songwriter Al Hidalgo has been composing, writing and/or crafting songs for more than 20 years. His nuanced musical career has seen him in early bands Sevilla and Quick to Page 3 (a 1988 WOXY (Oxford) 97Xposure finalist with the song "Other Guy"). Several years later, Al saw a brief stint as founding member of the ever-popular power pop group 33 People, where his song "Day Turns Into Teal" was featured on the 1991 WTUE (Dayton) Homegrown album.

His latest CD Cusp has already garnered national praise from independent North Carolina label FUTURAMA Records where Al's song "Chartreuse" was selected for their 2005 CD "Now Hear This! Volume 1 - A Compilation "featuring 18 of America's Best Independent Artists," including Here Comes Everybody, Reed Foehl, and Jacknife Powerbombs.

Al has recently scored music for several award-inning student films. He also has done keyboard session work for the Cincinnati band Mercurochrome on their upcoming release "Is That What They Want?" produced by John Curley (Afghan Whigs/Staggering Statistics).

Al is now currently in the studio producing a number of fresh, new tracks for an as-of-yet untitled, but soon to be released, CD.

A B O U T C U S P:
An amazing artist intimates what he sees and engages his audience with a lyrical palette colouring the conversation.

It took me a good half-hour to craft just that sentence alone, and Al Hidalgo has six tracks (two of them in Spanish) that go far beyond any of my overcompensation. Instead, they vibrate with rich vocal illustration and the allusion of a seasoned songwriter. I suppose it'd be easy to say Al lives in metaphor, and then riff the rest of this review in a similar tone, but it'd probably come across as trite. However, Al's first solo release, Cusp, is anything but shallow. There is a great deal of depth to this collection, derived both from structure and more importantly, time — a great deal of which dilligently went into realizing this album. First, picking the tracks that would best reflect this new artist, and then spending the time in the studio to make sure that the instrumental cuffs matched the vocal collars. From the flare of "Chartreuse" and the anthemic crooning in "Chime" to the tenderness of "Third Person," there is a vibrance ringing amid the layers of music.

This writer might be biased toward production, but the Jimmy Pankow hornlines in "Charteuse" do get along surprisingly well with an eclectic mix of castenets, REM-esque acoustic guitars, brash electric guitar wailing, gentle piano and the subtle layering of multi-tracked vocal harmonies. Namedropping does aid in beginning to describe Al's music, and the range of influences from Elvis Costello to David Poe starts to frame a dialog from which to draw comparisons. A quick peek may suffice to tell the story, but repeated listens will allow Al to reveal his own musical landscapes and unwind the complexities of Cusp.


Al Hidalgo | Cusp (EP) - - - available at iTunes, among others
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Quick To Page 3 (EP)
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Sevilla (EP)