HARDY - the mockingbird & The CROW
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the mockingbird & The CROW (Big Loud, 2023)


Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Although much has been made of the two HARDY personality traits revealed via "the mockingbird & THE CROW" album – part country, part hard rock – the more one listens to this extensive, 17-track album, the less musical style actually seems to matter. This is because we get to know HARDY's writing style well while listening to it, and he leaves a distinct, unique personal fingerprint with it. Even though he worked with co-writers for most of these tracks, they're nevertheless all HARDY, all the way.

There's just so much to appreciate about HARDY's personality on this album. He explains on "SOLD OUT," one of the project's louder tracks, how this Mississippi boy never dreamed his last name would ever become this famous. "THE REDNECK SONG" asserts that he'll always be a country boy at heart. He also sings about alcohol, one of country music's favorite love/hate subjects, each from a different adult beverage's perspective. One called "beer" comes off like the drink is his buddy, whereas "JACK" behaves more like a lying devil while arguing the Jack Daniels case.

His hit "wait in the truck," which features Laney Wilson, has been a bit of a lighting rod song. Some think HARDY is showing his support for vigilante justice with it, as an evil doer finds himself on the wrong end of a gun in its murder story. However, it is much more palatable to hear it as this character's story, without any agenda. It's not the right thing to do, but it's how this individual reacted when he saw a woman obviously abused by a man. Then again, this tale is not as cold blooded as when Johnny Cash "shot a man in Reno/Just to watch him die," murdering just for the thrill of it. Nobody gives/gave him grief over that extremely violent and heartless couplet.

Curiously, HARDY refers to himself as a "mockingbird with a microphone" on the title track. HARDY sings songs that sound like songs you've heard before. Nothing original, he implies. Of course, we all know that's not true and that he's selling himself severely short. He's a little like a modern-day Steve Earle, convincingly displaying how a country boy can not only survive, but thrive – sometimes with really loud music. "the mockingbird & THE CROW" is an hour of time well spent with HARDY.


the mockingbird & The CROW, 2023 A Rock, 2020 Where To Find Me, 2019 This Ole Boy, 2018

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