2016 / Saulitomusic
Review by Michael Debbage
Local Texan rumba flamenco guitarist Russ Hewitt impressed us with his recording debut Bajo El Sol eight years ago and has been patience and particular with his steps since. Waiting three years to record his equally strong follow up Alma Vieja Hewitt avoided the sophomore slump and now it has been over 5 years for him to finally release his latest recording Cielo Nocturno. Keeping a creative streak is a difficult task for even the best of musicians and streaks are made to be broken. Clearly this is the case with Cielo Nocturno which is not of equal strength of his prior recordings but frankly exceeds all expectations from this artist that grows in his compositional capabilities.
Cielo Nocturno presides with perhaps one of Hewitt’s most impressionable composition to date with the exhilarating “Presidio." He has no hesitation seeking assistance from his friends in high places as the track also features Ardeshir Farah from Strunz & Farah who is also featured later on the more progressive and chaotic “Persian Sky”. Even more impressive is orchestrating the appearance of Larry Carlton on the sublime “North Of Home” which is already getting much attention from several different playlists.
However, Russ’s latest creation is not about impressing you with the company he keeps but introducing you to his most melodic immediate recording to date without any sign of a commercial sellout. Check out the wandering 40 second introduction that then breaks out into a gorgeous melodic chorus found on “Arenas Blancas”. Hewitt and his usual band of suspects flow effortlessly with no superstar present followed up by the percussive driven “Cervezas And Cigars." Add in a little attitude from an accordion this song essentially transports you to an exotic cyber Cuban bar where the the smell of Havana cigars lingers in the air. Equally up to the task is the bossa nova influences found on playful breezy optimistic “Um Abraco Do Bossa”.
Hewitt has never disappointed and despite his impressive prior recordings Cielo Nocturno has truly set the bar even higher of what this unique Texan guitarist can do. Without out a doubt there is nothing but immediate high quality tracks that are impressive on its very first listen making Cielo Nocturno the most melodic appealing album to date with absolutely no diminishing originality. Good luck Russ outdoing yourself after this one!!!
June 18, 2016