You know how sometimes life is full of surprises? Good ones. Well, this is one of those good surprises. For the past couple of years, Chris Hardy is the man behind the gas mask in the Clear Lake bands ERASEtheVIRUS and A Digital Death. In fact, both bands have been covered in The SCENE Magazine… Just recently Hardy announced he was leaving A.D.D. to pursue a solo career.
Really? But A.D.D. just signed a record deal? Solo? I didn’t know he sang. So many questions that needed to be answered and Hardy was happy to oblige. This is cool. Keep reading.
Hardy was always hamming it up as a kid. He is a little more reserved now, but not much – you know it’s the quiet ones you have to watch right? Growing up, he would play the air guitar or grab a tennis racket for make believe music and even used a flashlight for a microphone. (There have got to be photos of that somewhere.) “I always knew I wanted to play the guitar,” he says with a smile. So at 14 years old, Hardy taught himself how to play on an Ibanez guitar. He played every day and was exposed to various styles during the ten years he worked at Guitar Center.
Hardy will tell you he has an appreciation for all styles of music. “They make me into the musician I am now,” he states.
Eventually, he had a four-year stint with a popular local band. They broke up, became a new band and then the opportunity came up to be signed to a record label. But instead of signing, he takes a leap of faith and amicably leaves the band to pursue a solo career. Ok. Wait, what?
Hardy became “the man who sold his rock and roll to finally have a soul.”
“I have taken many long roads to find myself back where I started. With an acoustic guitar in one hand and microphone in the other,” Hardy says. “I am now following my heart.”
He started to sing about a year and a half ago. Friends started to take notice. They provided enough support for Hardy to push himself, and he began playing open mic nights here and there while gaining the confidence he needed.
His heart led him to follow his gifts and talents. Hardy just recorded a 13 track CD with Mike BBQ at Big Door Studios in Webster last month. He actually recorded 15 tracks in one day! Live in the studio with virtually no retakes. These tracks are simply amazing and Hardy is way past talented on the guitar. He is phenomenal.
The CD will be released in late April or May and is titled “Wine Stains.” It’s a unique title and very personal to Hardy who is a wine expert. It’s not only his job, but another passion. His life memories are inter-twined with wine.
Some of the songs on the CD were written seven years ago and some were written just a month ago. The lyrics are a good mix of love and life. All sung with a breathy deep voice that shines with emotion as he holds the notes. It’s heart wrenching when he sings about love that has gone wrong.
The music is beautiful, masterful and intricate. The guitar is as fluid as a piano! Hardy’s innovative arrangements and narrative melodic lines will have him earn the recognition as one of this area’s most prolific singer/songwriters. I am serious.
The song names are so interesting too. “Dreams, Creatures and Mirrors,” “Wine Stains (So do you),” The Last Night Stand,” “There & Black Again,” “Rainbow Blues,” “Nostalgia,” “We’re All Thumbs,” “Upside of Backwards,” “Final Picture,” “Shower Song,” “Tacoma,” “Witch Me” and “Lullabye-bye.”
Interesting notes: In “Shower Song,” we actually hear a shower running in the beginning and the end. It’s a short fun song that’s about being your own rock star. “Witch Me” has sensual lyrics and is probably my favorite (not because of the lyrics! Well, maybe!) Hardy sings “I can be gentle or I can be sinful, ‘witch’ me do you want tonight?” “Lullabye-bye” is an all-instrumental dream sequence. And in “Tacoma,” Hardy personifies his guitar. “She” is like the girl that never left and stuck with him in the hard times. It’s one of his oldest songs on the CD.
Hardy says he chose these songs on his first solo album to “pursue a beautiful, more positive side of life and attract that karma back.”
So Chris Hardy has evolved into Chris J. Hardy now. It’s going to be satisfying to be present in the beginning and watch Hardy gain more attention as an artist. It’s well deserved and as he so eloquently says, “There seems to be no stopping the power and beauty that has finally and triumphantly been revealed.”
Check out www.reverbnation.com/chrisjhardy to hear the songs, bonus tracks, as well as booking information. At press time, Hardy has jumped from #86 to #10 in the Folk chart for Houston in just a few weeks. Go see why…