Al Hidalgo
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Al Hidalgo

Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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Sep
27
Al Hidalgo @ MidPoint Music Festival (Inner Peace Holistic Center : 708 Walnut Street)

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Apr
29
Al Hidalgo @ MusicInMotion: Artists Showcase 2 The Baum Opera House

Miamisburg, Ohio, USA

Miamisburg, Ohio, USA

Apr
16
Al Hidalgo @ Northside Tavern

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

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Music

Press


by Oliver Poole

AL HIDALGO * CUSP

Al Hidalgo was first introduced to me to me by a studio executive as "a diamond in the ruff". After the polishing was completed it became quite apparent he is “a gem of a distinct color.”

Within the tones of his eclectic lyrics and melodic sensibility, the raw essence of his influences glows stylistically like that of his mentors.

The arrangements, while difficult to categorize, shape the songs to fit in a cinematic realm, where tonal and structural emphasis match perfectly on the big screen. After repeated play, the flow of the song sequence works flawlessly. As an added bonus, CHARTREUSE and SPHERE (ESFERA) are redone in Spanish (with slightly altered production) to cleverly capture the Hispanic/European market’s ear.

Always refreshing to hear new talent that is not lost nor over-shadowed by the music production, in the case of CUSP, producer Robert Runyeon finds a perfect blend of artist vs. artistry. As one of the key players on CUSP, Robert (guitars/percussion) lets the songs speak through the talents of the musicians. Multi-talented player/performers, such as keyboardist/engineer Jeffrey Tutt (a.k.a. Aaron), drummer/vocalist Paul Nienhaus (33 People), studio/session bassist Chad Robinson (a.k.a. Aaron), and Jef Mayer (Magnolia Bolthead) on saxophone, need very little direction. All are studio savvy and the talent blend is apparent. Friends and family (including Al’s wife, Julie Hidalgo, who plays castanets on CHARTREUSE and co-wrote SPHERE) are also added to give the production a live feel on SPHERE.

The technical essence from studio engineer Jeffrey Tutt at The Playhouse Creative Workshop is a testament to the art of the digital box. And Refraze Studios' Gary King adds sparkle with his Mastering expertise .

As an award-winning graphic designer, Al has gained notoriety for his artwork on CD projects, promotional art and logo/identity designs for other artists, record labels and entertainment businesses. CUSP packaging, not surprisingly, was designed and developed by Al.

As a total package, Al Hidalgo and CUSP are the real deal. Creative, original songwriting, visual arrangements, polished productions and unique graphic design. A must buy. A must see. A must hear.

Oliver Poole
Creative Director / Music Reviewer
Playhouse Publications
2005 - Playhouse Publications


Discography

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

Photos

Bio

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.