A Review of the CD
"The Passing"
by Jack Hardy


"The Passing"
by Jack Hardy

Copyright 1996 - Jack Hardy Music
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This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 12/98
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
http://www.kevindmccarthy.com/music/index.html
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A man of letters relatively unknown except to his hardcore fans and those performers to which he has served as equal parts Pied Piper, Father Flanagan and irrespressible rascal, Jack Hardy continues his enchanting blend of poetical art with this latest compelling offering.

An early founder and promoter of the folk music scene in New York City, Hardy presents delicate metaphysical-like musings and gritty societal observations but with a twist--he rarely connects all the dots for the listener. Those wishing to tackle Hardy's music have to work for their reward as the visions and scenarios he presents are generally more translucent than transparent. He permits the passage of light to illuminate the nave in his stories but also bathes the corners in subjective shadow.

The lyrics are on display in any Hardy composition. The music he employs is typically bare, concise but fitting. It is the words that are the prized product and he continues in that vein with this release.

Standouts tracks include "The Halloween Parade," "The 20th Century," "If I Ever Pass This Way Again," and "Dachau."

In "The Halloween Parade," Hardy sings:

His mordant chorus adds:

"The 20th Century," a tune that could easily be adopted into the rock music genre and turned into a fierce anthem, travels back and forth between caustic vehemence and ironic loopiness. Commenting on various aspects of society and humankind, Hardy travels from:

He finishes with a flourish with:

Mixing John Redmond's button accordian into his version of an Irish lament in "If Ever I Pass This Way Again," Hardy utilizes exquisite nuance in detailing the siren songs immersed in our souls that continually call on us to return to our homelands. In his chorus, he captures the earthly elements and connections that draw us back:

He continues:

"Dachau" takes the listener on a tour of the infamous concentration camp. Hardy's purposeful visit to this hellhole attempts but fails both to conceive how it must have felt to have been a prisoner in such a setting and how such events could have ever taken place:

Continuing on with his feelings:

The work here will be a treat for those who prize the written word. Hardy marrys his compositions with germane and enjoyable musical settings but it is his glorious writing that is the prize.

Almost all of Hardy's pieces contain an interesting and standout aspect: the driving intensity and celtic rhythm of "The Passing," the excellent percussion that supports both "Willie Goggin's Hat" and "Morgan's Dance" or the vocal harmonies in "Black-Eyed Susans."

While his voice may be considered raspy and limited at best, it works with his music on this release and never subtracts from his presentation. He is able to create the mood necessary for the overall effectiveness of the compositions.

Hardy utilizes Wendy Beckermann and Louise Taylor on harmony vocals, Jenny Hersch on upright bass, Rob Wolf on acoustic lead guitar, Dave Anthony on drums and percussion, John Redmond on Irish button accordian, and accompanies his own vocals on acoustic guitar and mandolin.

Track List:

All songs written by Jack Hardy.


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