NYCS First Impression: HARDY Hixtape Vol. 1
HARDY is already an established songwriter in Nashville, but he’s surely becoming one of country music’s favorite new artists. He just wrapped up his opening gig on Florida Georgia Line’s headlining tour, just in time to gear up for his own tour. The recording artist continues to keep fans on the edge of their seats with his own music, and his newest project Hixtape VOL. 1 is no exception. Filled will star-studded collaborations, the album is truly a breath of fresh air.
On each of the ten tracks, HARDY had a little help from his friends, collaborating with a total of seventeen artists, who span the country music genre. From Joe Diffie to Keith Urban to Lauren Alaina to heavy-metal legend, Zakk Wylde, HARDY covers the whole spectrum, delivering a record for every kind of country music lover.
Beginning with the countrified track, “Boy From The South,” HARDY leans on Cole Swindell and Dustin Lynch to lend their vocals to the song. He somehow manages to intertwine all the country boy stereotypes into refreshing and rhythm lyrics. The song feels easy, yet packs a punch that fans will definitely appreciate. Keeping with a similar theme, HARDY continues to lament about country living in “Redneck Tendencies” with Trace Adkins and Joe Diffie. Though similar in spirit, the song has a much softer arrangement but is just as enticing.
“Can’t nobody tell me what I’m going to do / Yeah mama tried to raise me right / But she couldn’t raise a hell out of me / I told her rednecks tend to have some redneck tendencies.”
On the contrary, “He Went to Jared” has a more in your face arrangement. Featuring Morgan Wallen, the singer and HARDY trade verses, singing about their experiences losing their perspective girls to a clean-cut guy. The track, as well as, “Nothing Out Here” with Thomas Rhett, was one of the two songs that were released prior to the record, and it has already made a splash on the charts. HARDY collaborates with Wallen yet again in “Turn You Down,” which also features killer guitar skills from Ozzy Osborne’s guitarist, Zakk Wylde. The song has an undeniable charm that makes it nearly impossible to turn it off.
“When you turn me on, I just can’t turn you down / Like a damn good time.”
HARDY honors his Mississippi roots in most of the tracks off the record, but it is especially prevalent in “My Kinda Livin,” “What They Make Backroads For,” and “No Place Like Hometown.” In “My Kinda Livin,” the Mississippi native enlists help from his friends, Hunter Phelps and Jameson Rodgers. The trio pay tribute to rural living in the perfectly crafted mellow tune. Each singer takes a verse, causally expressing how “less busy, more laid back” is their “kinda livin’.”
HARDY, Tracy Lawrence, and Jake Owen also sing about the highs of good ole’ country living in “What They Make Backroads For,” while Keith Urban and Hillary Lindsay help sing praises for his hometown in the edgy “No Place Like Hometown.”
The next song off the record has arguably the most unique sound out of the ten. “Something A Lil Stronger” hooks you right away with the first lyric, “I’m just a good time junkie / always leaving the things that love me / wish I could make it last just a little longer / but I keep looking for something a lil stronger.” Swag session alum, Mitchell Tenpenny and Jon Langston combine their talents with HARDY in this refreshing new track.
Closing out the record, HARDY chooses to show off his vocals and softer side in “One Beer,” a collaboration with fellow “God’s Country,” songwriter, Devin Dawson and songstress Lauren Alaina. Quite possibly the most surprising combination of voices, it may be the most poignant track off the impressive collection of songs. The three singers lament about how so much in life and love can start with just a beer, singing “ain’t it funny what one beer can turn into.”
Overall this record is a perfect interpretation of who HARDY is an artist and as a human. He’s managed to deliver an innovative project, where each and every song could possibly work as a single. Clearly, he is just as loved as he is respected amongst his country music family, and we can’t wait to see what collaborations he has in the works for the next installment.
Take a look back at our interview with HARDY earlier this summer where he talks about his transition from songwriter to artist.
To keep up with HARDY follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Hixtape VOL. 1 is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
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