Jack Hardy -- May 2, 1997

The Minstrel Coffeehouse, Basking Ridge, New Jersey

Date sent: Mon, 5 May 1997 05:02:21 -0400
From: "William J. Hall" <70254.2101@compuserve.com>
Subject: REVIEW: Jack Hardy at the Minstrel Coffeehouse

I arrived one song into Jack's first set. I stood at the back of the room, but I like it that way, so I can watch the audience. All were rapt -- a full house at the Minstrel Coffeehouse in Basking Ridge, NJ. I couldn't stop smiling.

Jack Hardy is simply one of the finest songwriters on the planet, and he delivered his craft to us on spun silver trays -- laid out for the hungry to relish -- many of them brand new songs. I thought, "Yes, THIS is a songwriter's songwriter." Gods, did that devil play well Friday Night.

I suppose you'd call him legendary, and for good reason, but not as famous (yet) as some of those with whom he's been closely associated. Over the years, and in their budding stardom, people like Suzanne Vega, John Gorka -- the list goes on -- have found their way to this folk impresario's supper and song-swaps, where they honed their skills. And Jack has, through his involvement with Fast Folk, helped to shape the New York singer/songwriter scene at large. In the process, he's produced ten albums of his own, all of which, as he told us, are going to be re-released by 1-800-PRIMECD in time for Christmas '97.

But Friday night, without a band, just him and his guitar and mandolin gave us a taste of what it's all about: the Now, the New Stuff, the Evolving Art, the Master at Work.

After the show Jack filled me in on some of his recent exploits and gave me his latest CD, "The Passing." Of particular interest to me was that it was recorded in seven hours direct to two-track. I stuck it in the player driving home and, as I listened to "The Twentieth Century," I knew for certain what I've suspected of late -- that this is Jack's time. Don't miss him.

Bill Hall
Willowbrook Farm