Ex-MEGADETH Guitarist MARTY FRIEDMAN Guests On RUSS HEWITT Single 'Vivir Libre'

June 1, 2022

After previously putting out a string of singles with such recording artists as jazz blues legend Larry Carlton (STEELY DAN, THE CRUSADERS) and rock funk groovester Nuno Bettencourt from the band EXTREME, Texas-based guitarist Russ Hewitt has done it again with another collaborative effort with another high-profile guitar virtuoso — former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman.

The music video for "Vivir Libre", featuring Friedman, can be seen below.

Says Russ: "I set off initially to write a heavy groove Latin song that would translate well live. I used the Tres guitar I got from Cuba to harmonize with the guitar throughout the song, including the main riff and chorus. Due to the key this song is written in (C#m),I was able to come up with a unique chord progression for the solo section utilizing the open E string. After the chord progression was written, I instantly thought that it would be something Marty Friedman would write and that he would be perfect for the song. I am fortunate enough to be endorsed by the same guitar cable company as Marty (Analysis Plus cables) and reached out to the owner Mark Markel to make an introduction. Within seven days of the introduction, Marty had sent up his parts. Marty's playing made me really step up my game, including adding harmonies to my solo for the first time."

Hewitt went on to call Friedman "one of the rare guitarists that have their own distinct sound and style. All it takes is a couple of notes played before I can recognize that it's him or someone trying to sound like him," he said. "A bona fide guitar hero, Marty is considered one of the best rock/heavy metal guitarists in the world, and his solo for 'Tornado Of Souls' is cited as an all-time great. Marty's use of Middle Eastern and other exotic scales influenced me to explore those as well, which can be heard in many of my songs. Known mainly for his electric guitar playing, Marty plays an acoustic guitar full of his trademark phrasing and harmonies."

Regarding the video for "Vivir Libre", Russ said: "I initially was not going to have a video for this song, just a static photo of the single cover. At the last minute, I reached out to a childhood friend, Todd Sims. Todd is a film and TV director with over 300 project credits to his name. As the owner of Fusionflix Entertainment, he was kind enough to work on this for me after six days of filming on location. All five of my Telly awards are from soundtrack work I've done for some of Todd's projects ('Parent Compass' TV series/webisodes, the DVD companion to the New York bestseller 'The Harbinger Decoded' by Jonathan Cahn, and the feature film 'Thirst: Mission Liberia'.)"

Friedman left MEGADETH in 2000 and has been living and recording music in Japan since 2003. His shredding guitar style had been an integral part of MEGADETH's commercial peak, most notably on 1990's "Rust In Peace" and 1992's "Countdown To Extinction" albums.

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