The Hesh Inc. | Soul In Exile II

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Soul In Exile II

by The Hesh Inc.

Northeastern beach town singer-songwriter rock'n'roll.
Genre: Rock: Classic Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Jersey Shore Baby
5:01 $0.99
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2. Coastal Groove (You Know Its All Right)
5:10 $0.99
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3. Bruce!
3:54 $0.99
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4. Exile Detour
5:20 $0.99
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5. Coda
3:06 $0.99
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6. Beach Town In The Off Season
5:53 $0.99
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7. Lost In Your Universe
5:50 $0.99
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8. Town Full Of Self-Described Saints
5:10 $0.99
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9. Feel Alive Tonight
5:52 $0.99
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10. Paramount (This Is No Dream)
5:17 $0.99
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11. This Is The Time
3:53 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
NOTE: This album is OUT OF PRINT. Songs are still available in downloadable form. A new run of CDs is being planned for Summer 2015.

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Soul In Exile 2: Jersey Shore Baby is a lyrically-intense, semi-autobiographical, musical travelogue, telling its story by using local and regional references as metaphors for universal experiences including love, loss, isolation, redemption, and finding one's place in the world.

In November 1978, an awkward, geeky, and gangly Orthodox Jewish kid from Long Beach, NY named Heshy Rosenwasser dropped a quarter into a lucky charm imprinting machine at Lee's Arcade in Convention Hall on the Asbury Park boardwalk. Fueled by the onset of adolescent hormones and a nascent love of rock'n'roll music, spurred by a flash of inspiration from a "cool" character then in the American pop-culture consciousness, eight quick strokes of the lever brought on Heshy's ugly-duckling reinvention as The Hesh, and from that point on life was never the same. The meaning of life, as expounded by rabbis and historical religious figures, became compounded by the sound of the beach poets and boardwalk prophets of Jersey Shore rock'n'roll, which astounded and confounded his parents and peers to no end.

A year later The Hesh was in Israel, having moved there with his parents. Ostensibly attending yeshiva (Orthodox Jewish religious) high school with its strict delineation of morals and adamantly opposed to participation in "the outside world," Hesh nurtured his rock'n'roll dreams for several years until he emerged in Jerusalem as the keyboard player and lead singer for experimental jazz-blues-rock band Reality Shock. These dreams and ambitions were put on hold, however, when Hesh entered the Israel Defense Forces for his mandatory three-year service, but he compensated for the enforced hiatus by honing his songwriter skills with his heartfelt and sometimes irreverent commentaries on the world at large. During his entire nine-year spell in Israel, incorporating his time in yeshiva, in bands, and in the military, Hesh incorporated the influences of ethnic Sephardic/Mizrahi music with its distinct Arabic rhythms and scales, combined with the songwriting sensibilities of Lou Reed and Tom Waits. And through it all, he always remained tuned to the musical frequency emanating from the Jersey Shore, 6000 miles away, which gave his songwriting a distinct Bruce/Southside tinge. It was then that The Hesh became The Hesh Inc., which was either predictably Incorporated or more likely Incomplete, since there always seemed to be more to dream, write, and sing about.

After his honorable discharge Hesh got married and moved to Boston, a hotbed of creativity and radicalism that at once attracted and repelled him. As an attempt at life as an art student crumbled along with his marriage (a cataclysm chronicled in his first CD, 1999's independently released Soul In Exile), he felt the Jersey Shore subtly but insistently tug at his shirttail and finally, 12 years after being renamed in Lee's Arcade, The Hesh Inc. descended on Asbury Park.

Partnering with his high school compadre and Reality Shock drummer Izzy Kieffer, The Hesh Inc. assembled his original band, Freedom Is Priceless, playing their idiosyncratic brand of “soul-punk-rock-r&b” in clubs from Asbury Park to Greenwich Village. A regular at open mics throughout the area, Hesh befriended many musicians from diverse genres. One such jam session led to a several-year stint with roots reggae band the Midnight Ravers, for which he was nominated for a local music award in the early 1990s. Additionally, he played keyboards in three different Springsteen tribute bands spread across the heart of Boss-land from Philly to North Jersey, as well as 1970s-style disco and funk with Polyester in NY and NJ.

The turn of the 21st century saw the long-overdue release of Reality Shock's debut recording, comprising a number of songs that Hesh and Izzy played from their high school days all the way through the big bad 1990s. Shortly afterward, Hesh began recording sessions for Soul In Exile 2: Jersey Shore Baby, sequel to his first CD, at Retromedia Sound in Red Bank, with a lineup including 28 musicians drawn mostly from his musical travels in the NJ and NY area – notably Izzy (once again), E Street percussionist Richard Blackwell, local luminaries Mike Dalton and Rory Daniels, PK Lavengood from John Eddie's band, Mark Nuzzi of Soul Engines, Ken Sorensen a/k/a Stringbean, and virtually the all the members of Polyester, among others.

In 2003 The Hesh Inc. relocated to Los Angeles, where he became involved with The Happy Minyan, an Orthodox Jewish congregation that based its services on the songs and teachings of the late, famous "singing rabbi" and mystic, Shlomo Carlebach. While Jewish spirituality had always been in Hesh's consciousness, never before had it been brought to the forefront as it had during his time in LA. The Minyan was a magnet for creative types who operated in the secular entertainment world but were not ashamed of letting their roots show, and its influence upon The Hesh Inc. was profound.

Although he didn't go to the West Coast with the goal of making it in music or movies, The Hesh Inc. managed to get one of his songs placed in the 2006 comedy "When Do We Eat?" with Jack Klugman and Lesley-Ann Warren. He also joined yet another Springsteen tribute band, coincidentally and appropriately named Asbury Park, which consisted mostly of the road management and crew for the Doors of the 21st Century. That connection led to an offer to be Ray Manzarek's keyboard tech for the new Doors' tour, but Hesh had to decline because of family and personal considerations. During the latter half of his spell in LA, Hesh completed the recording of Soul In Exile 2: Jersey Shore Baby, with mixing, mastering, and some additional recording done at Punch Sound in Santa Monica as well as at Retromedia back in NJ; the inevitable influence of LA and the Happy Minyan can be heard in the final cut as a result.

2007 is Year Of The Hesh Inc. Back in New Jersey, he has taken everything he incorporated throughout his travels and sojourns over the years, synthesized it into his own brand of Jersey Shore rock'n'roll, and is primed to blast it out into the universe with Soul In Exile 2: Jersey Shore Baby, his first CD on AERIA Records.

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Reviews


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Jersey Todd

I love it
It wouldn't be fair to say that this album is an improvement off of the Hesh's last album, because Soul in Exile I, was an absolutely wonderful ride. However, that being said, this is a fantastic, fantastic, fantastic album. The Hesh has one of the best voices in music than I have heard in quite a long time, and knows how to really move you through a song.

There were a few songs on this album that that required an audio-double-take, in the listen-rewind-listen fashion. "Coda" and "Bruce" are absolute classics that get better on repeated listenings. There is something familiar about this album, but at the same time it is completely fresh.

Springsteen-heads will be clamoring for this album, for sure. The Hesh writes songs that Bruce used to write, but they are all completely his own, and pound-for-pound may even be better. (Sacreligious, I know).

I highly recommend that you check this great artist out.
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John Pheiffer

EAST COAST ROCKER/AQUARIAN REVIEW
The Hesh
Soul In Exile II—Jersey Shore Baby
Aeria Records

by John Pfeiffer

Some people bead in on an issue and take it to its inevitable conclusion. Like taking a river all the way to the falls. And that's the direction and the message of this record, with a bittersweet and personal juxtaposition of raging passions, free form musical experience combined with a painter's style of lyrical expression that uses broad strokes, coming to terms with the initial betrayal and forgiveness of the awe inspiring musical history that draws all of us towards it, and as in Heshy's case, even from across the globe.

The story of a place, central to his life, that fell from a once great place featuring all things reproachable and good. The reasons it came to fail, and the ways that it became all right again. For Heshy it's about redemption, but redemption always comes with a price, and while it starts in the self, the self eventually leads you back to the confrontation of the betrayer.

Heshy uses his music as a form of direction, a compass, if you will. And in this story you are led towards this object of the betrayal and the whirling dervishes that left her desolate.

Soul In Exile II takes a healthy swing in many directions, from music biz politics, to restlessness, hypocrisy, triumph and failures from Jersey Shore super heroes, Heshy and locals alike. From the frustrations of a budding musician in awe of a city and an ideology that for a time shunned its greatest sons, Heshy uses positivity against the negative unbelievers who say "I don't think this is the right time," and as he says in the song "This Is The Time": "Don't let the lies and propaganda wear you down, your blinded brothers and sisters will eventually come around. This is the time."

Whether this is the time for a rebirth or a crash and burn desolation, Heshy isn't shy about telling you how he feels on this record, and as I listened through the lyrical and musical content I could see that this wasn't a project that came about on the fly. The man doesn't disguise words in arabesque symbolism as much as he gets directly to the points in only a way he could pull off.

Songs like my favorite "Exile Detour," feature the manic early Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz influenced sax work of David Perkins and also Gerry Kamber on the second leg on a song that would have made Charles Bukowski crack the cap on a fresh jug of cheap red wine, light a Camel and sit back and get lit. Free form lyrics grab hold and dig in deep with hypnotic blue velvet covered rhythms courtesy of Izzy Kieffer, amongst a cast of others.

"Coda" slides right in underneath "Exile," with throbbing gristly guitars that interweave with slick wah wah's and Chili Pepper heavy rhythms. Quick and in the pocket this song packs a fight to the top statement that tells you, in no uncertain terms, that this is "where the Jersey Shore baby sprang free of his trap, it ain't just an act, and he's back and that's that."

Another interesting tune on the disc is an instrumental entitled "Beach Town In The Off Season" which features guitarist P.K. Lavengood and has some of the most soulful slide work I've heard in a while. Morphed from tradition and in the powerful vein of Dickey Betts, Lavengood steers the song past its dark, stormy bridge and back into the main theme with great plainsman style.

This brings the disc into "Lost In Your Universe," a balladeering tune in the vein of Warren Zevon with a little John Mellencamp's "Small Town" vibe complete with outstanding guitar work courtesy of Barry Siegfried. And true to the theme Heshy sings grimly, "It doesn't make sense to stay here, but somehow I still do. Lost in this New Jersey universe, everything may have faded, but I still love you."

The most poignant tune on the disc is "(The) Town Full Of Self Described Saints," a snarling song featuring Kenny Sorenson's harp work and where Heshy kicks over the reality rock so many have hidden under with the line: "The tramps, they've all climbed the social ladder, carving their niche in a murky world of outtakes and boots, tickets and drop lines and how many shows, it's all chatter, and somehow the message in the music is rendered moot." And as I said in the beginning of this article, love hate always lets you come back, but sooner or later you have to leave or descend into its midst. Its hold on you is ferocious, and you can hear it in the line, "I'm taking myself out of this toxic scene, it's a bane to inspiration, a dangerous machine."

Frustration and inspiration often go hand in hand in creativity and I have to say this album shows plenty of that. Other songs like the Springsteen 1970s inspired "Paramount Theatre" and the straightahead "This Is The Time," with its chilling Tower Of Babel monologue, using multiple over dubbed voices, shooting out in stereo, intermingled chatter of people being interviewed about their quick and dismissive opinions about Asbury and what's going on with the town layering the chatter till it hits its crescendo in the most claustrophobic of ways, reminding me just how many times I've heard these same lines myself and how it's affected us all. "Grassy Sound" and "Feel Alive Tonight" and "Jersey Shore Baby" featuring The Tel Aviv Jukes (that's great) are also worth good mention but I'm fresh outta space.

Engineered by John Noll and Paul Ritchie over at RetroMedia in Red Bank, the sounds are excellent and an all around good job from The Hesh who produced this with help from Kieffer. The list of players on this disc is too long to give justice to. Guys I've known, like Dave Mains and Ken Sorenson, as well as Mike Dalton and Stevie Brown, PK Lavengood, Rory Daniels are just a few of the many talented players that came together to make this record happen.

You can tell this is an artist that cares deeply about his musical roots and the resurrection of a place of former glory.The very reason records like this are made are to inspire and aspire the listener, and I believe Soul In Exile II—Jersey Shore Baby has accomplished that in all areas. I think that perhaps Heshy's soul has found the way out of this exile at last.

The disc is available through Aeria Records' crew at aeriarecords.com and you can also grab it at myspace.com/hesh and cdbaby.com.
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Donnie G.

This album is Hesh's love affair with Asbury Park!
THE HESH INC.'S REFUSAL TO GIVE UP ON ASBURY
By Donnie G.
The Rag, July 2007

From the opening moments of "Soul In Exile II: Jersey Shore Baby," I knew I was going to be taken to someplace special. The Hesh Inc. begins his AERIA Records release with the sound of waves. This is the same sound I heard while traveling the boards on a dark quiet night. The same sound I would get lost in as I would run through the day's events in my mind. The same sound that made this BENNY not want to go back home to the Bronx. Similarly, Hesh was born in New York City and introduced to Asbury Park by his family. He went to high school in Israel and was later drafted into the Israeli army. It was there that a smile was put on his face at the sound of Bon Jovi on the radio. He was immediately taken back to a childhood of Asbury memories. Even though Hesh spent three years in Boston and three years in Los Angeles, his heart obviously belonged to the Jersey shore.

This album is Hesh's love affair with Asbury Park. It begins with his introduction to the Shore, through its deterioration and into the promise of a resurrection. "Jersey Shore Baby," the first cut, raises an interesting correlation between Jerusalem and Asbury Park. "People make pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Asbury Park," explains Hesh. "They are hoping to see something rise from the wreckage." People travel from all over the world to Asbury Park because of its musical history. The construction vehicles spread out through the town gives a sense that something is happening. The Jewish people have been waiting even longer for their Temple to be rebuilt!

The song "Bruce!" is pretty self-explanatory. "So unlike the current trends, my hair stood on end at the sound of that guitar and that sax," sings Hesh. In 1978, WPLJ played "Prove It all Night." Hesh stated, "It was not like any of the disco or rock that was being played during that period. I heard the sound of Asbury Park in his music!" The connection was really made when Hesh picked up a copy of Marvel Comics' teen magazine Pizzazz. There was a map inside one of the issues that had New Jersey linked with Springsteen.

Musically, the album switches directions with "Exile Detour." Speaking his lines over a frantic saxophone and percussion, Hesh mentions "six lanes of death" and "the exile has finally come home." This song was based on a poem he wrote when he moved back to the shore in 1990. "Coda" expresses his feelings during a very desolate time in Asbury Park. Lines such as "cause now I'm back and babe I'm staying here" and "history was made here" are delivered with extreme conviction. This number takes on a rap-like feel, underlined with a Latin beat. "I was doing these hand motions like a rap artist, that was helping me keep my rhythm," shared Hesh. The late Joe Bop and Dave Mains performed on this track, providing a very solid rhythm section.

The first five cuts were strung together to really hit home with the concept of the album. Hesh refers to these numbers as his "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." The instrumental "Beach Town in the Off Season" brings us back to the waves. Hesh explains that this song was written in two places, Rockaway Beach and Wildwood. This song was originally called "Rockaway-Wildwood Theme" when it was recorded at Colie Brice's studio in Bradley Beach, around the time of their first meeting each other in 1994. "I tried to recreate the sound of the waves crashing while no one is on the boardwalk," said Hesh. I thought it was interesting that the piece kept returning to the same hook, which reminded me of the repeated attempts to rebuild Asbury.

Hesh begins to question himself during "Lost In Your Universe." He states, "doesn't make sense to stay here but somehow I still do." By the time the listener reaches "Feel Alive Tonight," Hesh is searching for the positive in his favorite shore town. The last two numbers, "Paramount Theatre (This Is No Dream)" and "This Is The Time," give the listener an uplifting feeling of almost gospel-like proportions. The final song takes the album full circle because it could be about Asbury Park or Jerusalem. Wherever it is, you "have to believe it's going to happen."

Residing in Interlaken, Hesh recorded this album at Retromedia Sound in Red Bank. It was then mixed and mastered at Punch Sound in Santa Monica, California. Among the many music scene luminaries who performed on the album were Richard Blackwell, Mike Dalton, Rory Daniels, Izzy Kieffer, Ken Sorensen, PK Lavengood, Trina Scordo, Tony Scardaci, Rick Oricchio, Steve Lopresto, Mark Nuzzi, Wendy Horn, David Perkins, and Patrick Kocen. This album was a long time in the making, but it was sure worth the wait!

"Soul In Exile II: Jersey Shore Baby," which was officially released on June 15th, can be purchased at www.cdbaby.com/heshinc. More information about The Hesh Inc. can be found at www.myspace.com/hesh. Hesh concludes, "My Jewish spirituality is a vital part of who I am. I've been on the receiving end of God's goodness too many times!"
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