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

Gifts

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

24th April 2015 – Mac, Birmingham TICKETS

26th April 2015 – Buxton Opera House, Buxton TICKETS

30th April 2015 – The Met, Bury TICKETS

1st May 2015 – The Queens Hall, Edinburgh TICKETS

2nd May 2015 – The Witham, Barnard Castle TICKETS

3rd May 2015 – The Greystones, Sheffield TICKETS

5th May 2015 – Hull Fruitspace, Hull TICKETS

6th May 2015 – Exeter Phoenix, Exeter TICKETS

7th May 2015 – The Welfare, Swansea TICKETS

8th May 2015 – Huntingdon Hall, Worcester TICKETS

9th May 2015 – Colston Hall, Bristol TICKETS

12th May 2015 – The Borderline, London TICKETS

13th May 2015 – Key Theatre, Peterborough TICKETS

14th May 2015 – Boileroom, Guildford TICKETS

16th May 2015 – The Atkinson, Southport TICKETS

19th May 2015 – The Tolmen Centre, Falmouth TICKETS

20th May 2015 – The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury TICKETS

21st May 2015 – South Arts Centre, Devon TICKETS

23rd May 2015 – Annan Arts Centre, Annan TICKETS

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Bella Hardy album review

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