Pepe Belmonte is a folk/blues guitarist who has just released his debut album The Hermit’s Waltz. I first came across Pepe on a compilation that came out last year. Mountain With A Moving Peak has been playing on the station since. What was on his debut album took me by complete surprise…
Pepe opens to To the Boys & Girls, a tribute to some of the artists that have inspired him. What starts as a country blues number twists and turns with some clever guitar stylings as he pays tribute to influences from Elvis to John Lee Hooker whom he brings alive with his guitar on mention. He has a very laid back sonorous voice that has heaps of soul and his guitar playing is more than accomplished as is his songwriting skills.
On Foolish he measures the pace and delivery of Mississippi John Hurt whilst on the next track, Pending on My Mind, he transforms from that laid back country blues feel by uping the emotional charge in his voice and accentuating it with almost whispered female backing. Understanding how to convey movement in song and music is a an artform in itself some people struggle whilst others overcook it, on this album it is spot on!
The opening of some tracks have a unique musical intro from that of the rest of the song, as if setting the scene. The gently swaying sound of solitude cello on Lonely Lady does just that and it makes the whole song all the more poignant. Whether that was intentional or not I don’t know but it works. The lyrics on this album have great depth and sincerity whilst the music breathes even greater depths into them making them very visual and illustrative to the minds eye.
You can almost smell the sweet country air on some of them, they are full of life, again adding that visual depth, Walk on Down sets the momentum of a stride with the plucked foot falling cello before Pepe delivers his upbeat delivery of “I’ve got to walk on down!” Of course I knew what was in store with Mountain with a Moving Peak but it still holds that infectious foot tapping drive that will pull a crowd along with it.
The whole mix of the album ranges from the soft and lonesome to the more upbeat and driving. In a nutshell, this album made a big impression on me, enough to ring up Pepe and tell him so. It’s like hearing a classic in the making, an exceptional and beautiful album! That’s why it’s my album of the week and you can hear more throughout this coming week.
The Hour of Living
Songs from the album appear in the film The Hour of Living a clip from which you can see below. In the film Pepe appears as ‘The Singer’ and performs songs from the album. The film’s writer and director Sebastian Michael says,
…with The Hermit’s Waltz, Pepe had written, composed and recorded a collection of songs that fits so perfectly with our story, it’s as if they had been created especially for it.
As well as songs from ‘The Hermit’s Waltz’ making up the film’s soundtrack, Pepe was also commissioned to write a number of songs especially for the film.
Record Store Day Tour
In celebration of Record Store Day on 16th April Pepe Belmonte will be travelling by camper across the UK playing ‘in-store’ shows followed by gigs the same evening in local venues supporting local acts.
So don’t miss out:
4pm @ Ziggy’s Basement, 29 Gloucester Rd &
7pm @ The Latest Music Bar, 14-17 Manchester St,£1/£4
Red Rose Records, 3 Royal Arcade
Chaplins Cellar Bar, 529 Christchurch, Boscombe
Acorn Music, 3 Glovers Walk
5pm @ Rise Records, 70 Queen’s Rd, Clifton &
7pm @Mr. Wolf’s, 33 St Stephen’s Street
1-2pm @ Kane’s Records, 14 Kendrick St
7pm @ Star Anise, 1 Gloucester Street, £1/£4 (with HERONS and HERMES)
12-2pm @ Mold Music, 27 New Street
7pm @ Y Pentan, 3 New Street (with local acts)
5pm @ The Music Exchange, 18 West End Arcade
7pm @ The Golden Fleece, 105 Mansfield Rd, FREE
2pm-4pm @ Brill, 27 Exmouth Market
7pm @ The Betsy Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Rd, £1/£4
Other Gig Dates
Friday 29th April
A Right Royal Knees Up @
The Sir Richard Steele Pub
97 Haverstock Hill, Chalk Farm, NW3 4RL
Saturday 30th April
with The Lantern Society