NYCS First Impression HARDY – ‘A ROCK’
“We’re all just livin’ life on a rock”
Brilliant songwriting, masterful producing, and 12 completely cohesive tracks, HARDY’s debut project, A ROCK, available everywhere today (9/4) continues to prove that the sought after songwriter-artist has something powerful to say with his music. Although this is his first solo project released with his label Big Loud, HARDY has already given fans a ton of music to get to know his persona and what truly makes him tick. His masterpiece of features, HiXTAPE Vol. 1 gave fans all over the country a taste of what it’s like to grow up in the south, giving the peaceful dirt roads or “ain’t nothin’ out here” towns an irresistible appeal. When deciding on releasing his debut full-length album, HARDY went to work, writing and delivering 12 songs to his team, that he knew would make up the project.
A ROCK takes listeners through a lifetime of moments; joy, grief, compassion, distress, and forgiveness showcasing clever wordplay and profound melodies. For each emotion singled out, there is a contrasting feeling for those who might not be going through that exact scenario. While “BOYFRIEND”, a track inspired by his girlfriend Caleigh, talks about a couple deciding to take their love to the next level and taking the ultimate plunge into marriage, “BOOTS” an angst-filled breakup song and whether its a person you are moving on from or this horrible pandemic we suggest turning it up loud.
Although each track shines on its own, an absolute stand out is “So Close” which features his labelmate, Ashland Craft, and was written with Hillary Lindsay and Mark Holman over Zoom during the quarantine. A newcomer to the scene, Craft’s debut “Trainwreck” sets the stage for a powerful female artist and this duet lets her dynamic vocals shine. Similarly, the track allows HARDY’s vocals to soar as they harmonize singing about a couple being so close in proximity and then so close to making it, before ultimately ending their relationship. In our interview to discuss the project, HARDY explains how he took the time to meticulously cut the vocals at his in-home studio. “I did take after take after take, and did all of the harmonies and I sent it back to Mark [Holman], and I said ‘I know this is a lot but I want it to sound like a freakin’ Def Leppard song.” Ultimately deciding that he wanted the song to be a duet, he loved Craft’s gritty vibe so it was a perfect fit.
It’s not all love or breakups on A ROCK, “WHERE YA AT” is primed and ready for the first live show back in a room full of rowdy country fans. Smattering electric guitars give a rock n roll feel with lyrics that beg fans to scream them back wearing their redneck badge high. HARDY spitfires cities across this great nation and proclaims “Country pride is countrywide / yea we’re all climbing that podunk ladder / so put your long neck up if you got a little hick in your blood then it really don’t matter, where ya at.” Continuing the pride in his home state of Mississippi and his redneck ways, “UNAPOLOGETICALLY COUNTRY AS HELL” written with Smith Ahnquist, Nick Donley, Jake Mitchell, HARDY recognizes the southern boy cliches and wears them like a badge of honor.
Our favorite from HiXTAPE Vol. 1, “One Beer” which features Devin Dawson and Lauren Alaina is also included and is currently top 20 at country radio and climbing. The ultimate story song and a modern-day “There Goes My Life” the classic Kenny Chesney tune, “One Beer” not only highlights the good that can come out of mistakes but the sonogram heartbeat sound that drums through the track will have anyone who is a parent in tears, remembering hearing their babies heartbeat for the first time.
A tribute to those we’ve loved and lost, “GIVE HEAVEN SOME HELL” is another standout, allowing a sentimental softer side of HARDY to emerge. During a celestial conversation with someone who has passed on, the lyrics are filled with sensational imagery of a better place that we can only imagine. “Make some thunder, make ’em wonder how you got in / Hide your beer, hide your clear from the man upstairs / Crank it loud, hold it down ’til I get there And when I do, I hope you got some new stories to tell / ‘Til then, give Heaven some hell”.
The title track “A ROCK” closes the album and serves as a quiet reflection of each of the stories you just listened to, relating them to something as simple as a rock and the multiple meanings it can have. Letting us into his genius songwriting brain, HARDY tells us in our exclusive interview: “I was just driving down the road one day and my mind was just going 100 mph like it does, and I can’t remember when or where I was but I had this weird thought of how important a rock is to lot of moments in your life,” he continues “That is what your tombstone is made out of, what rings are made out of, and then in this weird way I started thinking about how iron starts out as a rock, if it wasn’t for that, we wouldn’t have anything made of metal so the entire world comes from a rock and then the Earth is one big rock.” The quiet production allows you to zoom out and focus on the story.
It’s safe to say that with the release of A ROCK, HARDY has solidified his place in the genre as a bonafide star, an absolute fan-favorite, and a lyrical genius.
- “So Close”
- “A Rock”
- “Broke Boy”
- “One Beer”
To keep up with HARDY follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
“TRUCK” 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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