Album number seven, from Edinburgh based folk-artist Bella Hardy, arrives after a quite stunning 2014 for the artist. Being voted BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of 2014 seems to have caused little anxiety for the singer-songwriter as new album ‘With the Dawn’ provides recordings of the highest calibre.
This isn’t your standard folk release though. In a week where Mumford and Sons have seemingly dropped the banjo from their latest album Hardy turns the genre on its head with some extremely inventive production.
The familiarity that is sometimes unfairly associated with folk music is rarely in evidence here. Sure, the genres key principles are still in place but Hardy has given this traditional format a reboot by replacing 19th century characteristics with an altogether updated, fresher sound. For those who have dismissed folk in the past now would be the time to reintroduce yourself to the format via this clever release.
Drum machines, horns and samples are evident throughout, while the mixed vocal arrangement on ‘You Don’t Have to Change (But You Have to Choose)’ showcases an artist who is unafraid to experiment. The un-conventional use of instrumentation on ‘Gifts’ (the stand-out track on the LP) and ‘The Only Thing to Do’ tweaks at the folk format and gives the listener something else to ponder. Importantly the song writing remains strong throughout and is never lost in the inventive production. This is impressive stuff from an artist who is still young but has the ability to create work beyond her years.
Hardy has managed keep something for the purists, while deliberately offering something else to those of us who may not be completely at home with folk in its purest form. ‘James Vincent McMorrow’ followed a similar path with his 2014 LP ‘Post Tropical’ but his was a more drastic change. Hardy has managed to maintain the essence, ensuring she doesn’t alienate fans of her last 6 LP’s.
‘With the Dawn’ is set for a 30th March 2015 release date
The full track-listing for ‘With the Dawn’ is as follows…
The Only Thing to Do
First Light of the Morning
The Darkening of the Day
Jolly Good Luck to the Girl That Loves a Soldier
You Don’t Have to Change (But You Have to Choose)
Another Whisky Song
Oh! My God! I Miss You
Time Wanders On
Lullaby for a Grieving Man
And We Begin
You can see Bella Hardy live at one of these venues…
30th March 2015 – Universal Hall, Findhorn TICKETS
21st April 2015 – Theatre by the Lake, Keswick TICKETS
23rd April 2015 – New Greenham Arts Centre, Newbury TICKETS