After raising over thirteen thousand dollars from fans across the country, Ari Herstand is finally releasing his third studio album this Saturday at Hotel Café in Hollywood. Over a year in the making, Brave Enough was recorded at three different studios and features an unpredictable and killer combination of some of the greatest Minneapolis musicians. Brave Enough is more than just good music, it is a raw and intimate look into the life of someone in the heat of the ring, wrestling with the relentless pursuit of a crazy dream.
Ari’s first break came in 2008 when he played the Northern Plains NACA conference for thousands of college students. Fast forward years of van tours, colleges, and festivals and now Ari has turned himself into one of the country's most successful DIY musicians. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he has also helped thousands of musicians like him by sharing what he’s learned though his blog Ari’s Take (which, by the way, was nominated by LA Weekly as one of the best in LA).
I'm so honored to be able to do what I love for a living and wish I could give everyone a hug and a kiss (or fist pound for the fellas) to everyone who comes to my shows because it means that much to me to see you at a show.
But enough about Ari’s sparkling personality, let's talk music. The first single he has released from the record is Keep Fighting (featured on MTV's The Real World last month). This song is particularly unique with a rhythmic and steady word flow, almost a melodic rap, that is pushed forward with pounding keys and intoxicating drum beats.
I'm not sure we'll ever stop / Pushing through the gears
Grinding through the tears/ Shifting down our fears
The song really comes into its own when it crashes into a foot stomping I-want-to-sing-along-while-dancing-crazy chorus that will stay in your head for days. Without a doubt this will be one of the biggest songs on the album.
The title track of Brave Enough wrestles with a more difficult subject. Similar to the song I Hope I Never Know it deals with the unavoidable moments of doubt while in a long-term relationship. Here Herstand once again shows his skill in making uncomfortable moments translate comfortably and relatably into his music.
Its like these fleeting thoughts that might come into your mind at that moment. It's easy to kind of be afraid of those feelings. I went down that path to explore those thoughts a little bit deeper.
Though the words can easily be seen as specific to a relationship, it also seems to show a similar private battle between anyone in pursuit of a dream. The doubts and the questioning can relate to anyone who finds themselves gambling the heat of their emotions in hopes of something great.
I chose the title because it represents the record as a whole. Many people know me as a confident and very outspoken person. That's the 'Brave' part. But really, deep down, I'm just as insecure every artist is. 'Enough' reveals the hesitance.
The song Minnie and Me is particularly interesting because its meaning hides beneath a fictional love story and play on words. The song is actually about Herstand falling out of love with Minneapolis, where he lived for seven years before moving to LA. Featuring an incredible punching horn section that builds the song straight on through to the end, Minnie and Me is without a question bound to be one of the most exciting to hear live.
The diversity of Brave Enough makes it impossible to listen to without finding something to love. Whether you prefer the Santana-esque vibe of Say What You Will, the crashing cymbals into soft piano found in Let Me Be Alone, or the slow breathing melody of Float, you will not regret getting your hands on this album.
Brave Enough is available now on iTunes here and can also be live streamed from his website (ariherstand.com). Download the single Keep Fighting here and if you’re nearby Hotel Café in Hollywood this Saturday, be sure and grab your ticket to the release show before they sell out (ticket link). To keep up with Ari’s tour schedule and shows follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/ariherstand) and check him out on Facebook (facebook.com/ariherstand).