Beto Hale blends cultures on American Mythology release

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:: Beto Hale :: CD Release Party :: Walnut Room :: April 7 :: 
  

By Brian Kenney 

A split personality exists in Beto Hale, a duality that’s not based on artistic indecisiveness or a question of direction. It’s more of artistic inventiveness. Like a painter with a huge palette, Hale has so many colors to chose from, that it’s never known what hue will be placed on the canvas next.

This month, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Hale will release American Mythology, a disc intensely influenced by his multi-cultural dual citizenship. Hale’s tenor, a bright and ringing tone influenced by the melodic styles of every voice from John Denver to Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, meshes with Santana-like guitar virtuosity and is complimented by Hale’s passionate soft jazzy percussion. 

American Mythology is unique in that it is a lush, multi-layered, bilingual disc. With this duality, this split, Hale had a number of directions he could have chosen in which to release the disc. “At first I thought I’d do the first 10 songs in one language, and then 10 in another,” Hale recently told The Marquee. “But I wasn’t sure if my whole feeling would get across.”

Fearing he would alienate one audience or another, he also had the choice of pressing two entirely different discs. Surveying friends, he finally decided to split the disc linguistically. “I have always written in a neutral way. So for my own benefit, I try to avoid any slang. So someone who listens from Spain or Cuba would not have a hard time getting what I’m saying,” he said.

It’s this approachability that seduces the listener and finds Hale’s songs so familiar. “Musically it flows, so I believe that people [who listen]will get over the language barrier. People who don’t speak any Spanish have come back and said ‘I love ‘En tu Labios’ or ‘Hoy.’’ They just connect with the vibe going on. Even the art work and lyrics are translated. For every song on American Mythology, I’ve put at least the first chorus and first verse in the other language.”

Hale’s musical pedigree runs deep. First introduced to a drum kit at the age of eight, classical guitar followed, and the natural progression took him to the piano. By the age of 11 he was playing in his first band, which had the privilege of performing in front of the U.S. embassy in Mexico City. During his teenage years he toured Mexico as a second keyboardist for the chart topping, ultra-popular teen pop band Timbiriche. These days, however, he has slowed down a bit and prefers immediate and intimate settings.

“I’ve run the gamut. I’ve had the chance to perform in front of 15,000 people. But I really look forward to smaller places, where you have 200-250 people and you can still have an intimate connection with the audience. My music has an element that if you lose that certain intimacy, [that element]might get lost in the mix. I can connect in mid-size venues, which lends itself to my introspection. Not that I wouldn’t like to play Wembley someday,” he said with a laugh.

Having gained exposure to the industry early on, Hale pursued the dream that entices every accomplished musician: he applied to Berklee School of Music and was accepted with a percussion scholarship. It’s no surprise that with such a wide ranging musical knowledge, Hale plays just about every instrument on American Mythology.

American Mythology is at once experimental and focused. It also possesses an immediacy that comes from his days in New York City playing with the punk outfit The Cogs. “On this album, things get going right away,” he said. “And I think that comes from playing in a punk band, because two minutes was a long time for a song. But you can do so much in two minutes. Kind of a less is more. A more lean approach. No extra fat.”

:: Beto Hale :: CD Release Party ::

:: Walnut Room :: April 7 ::

 

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