Ange Hardy Folk / Blog

What a crazy week it's been! Mark Radcliffe ...

What a crazy week it's been! Mark Radcliffe played one of my songs on Radio 2 just a few moments after I finished talking to Mike Harding about the pre-recordings... this is all getting very real! However, we've just put the numbers into a spreadsheet and we need another two hundred and seventy two pre-orders to cover the album costs, so please pre-order sooner than later: thelamentoftheblacksheep.co.uk

Have you heard the album samples and met the guest musicians yet?

Hello friends, fans and family!

The studio time has been booked and paid for. The guest musicians have been confirmed. It's nearly time to record a new album!

So, want to hear a bit of a teaser for what the album's going to sound like? Get yourself over to the website (www.thelamentoftheblacksheep.co.uk) where there's a new audio player on the homepage featuring pre-studio snippets from a number of the new songs. Introducing the guest musicians for the album

Guest musicians: James Findlay, Lukas Drinkwater, Alex Cumming and Jon Dyer. The studio recordings will feature some truly incredible guest musicians! I'm delighted to officially announce them:

The multi-award winning and ludicrously talented James Findlay will be providing exceptional fiddle playing and contributing the warm tones of his distinctive and traditional style of singing. The truly delightful Lukas Drinkwater will be playing double bass and providing backing vocals on the album. Alex Cumming will be bringing the traditional delights of his accordion to the album, and bright eyed Jon Dyer is going to be lending his flute and whistle expertise to the album.

To find out more about this wonderful assortment of musicians please visit www.thelamentoftheblacksheep.co.uk/team. Don't forget pre-orders are ONLY available until March 31st! Unlike Bare Foot Folk we're not reliant on pre-orders to make this album happen.

... but that's only because I'm even more committed than ever to my musical career, and if that means eating gruel for a year that's what we'll do! The more pre-orders we sell the better I can sleep at night!

You can pre-order your album from www.thelamentoftheblacksheep.co.uk. It's got the album artwork, track listings and lyrics... and now even an audio teaser so you can hear some snippets of the new songs.

The expected date for shipping pre-orders is May 14th, a full 4 months ahead of public release on September 13th.

You can also opt to have a special mention on the inlay, or if you want to be more involved you can sponsor an aspect of the production of the album :)

We've planned a limited edition run of CD's in a gorgeous matte case with a beautiful 20-page booklet crammed full of lyrics and notes about the songs. Click here to pre-order 'The Lament of the Black Sheep'

A few dates for your calendar

Here's a few of my upcoming performances, there's more dates soon to be confirmed :) 3rd May 2014 - Special Guest at the George Hotel - South Molton (Unplugged Concert) 16th May 2014 - Great Bow Wharf - Langport (Concert) 6th June 2014 - Wessex Folk Festival - Weymouth (Festival) 20th June 2014 - Downend Folk Club - South Gloucestershire (Concert) 1st July 2014 - Somer Valley FM ~ The Folk & Blues Show with Richard Harris (Radio Session) 3rd July 2014 - Glastonbury FM ~ Live Radio Session with Ian Liversidge (Radio Session) 8th July 2014 - Frome Festival - Somerset (Festival) 12th July 2014 - Glastonbury Assembly Rooms with Reg Meuross and Jess Vincent - Somerset (Concert) 20th July 2014 - Folk on the Farm - Anglesey (Festival) 2nd August 2014 - Barry Folk Festival - South Wales (Festival) 21st August 2014 - 10Radio ~ Folk and Roots with David Bond (Radio Session) 24th August 2014 - Radio Dacorum ~ Live Radio Session with Daria Kulesh (Radio Session) 6th September 2014 - Stogumber Festival - Somerset (Festival) 13th September 2014 - ALBUM LAUNCH CONCERT AT THE REGAL THEATRE IN MINEHEAD (more details soon) 21st September 2014 - The Priston Festival - Somerset (Festival)

Exciting news about the new album!

Hello friends, fans and family!

I've been working hard to get ready for recording the new album at the start of April.

I've also been fending off a cold and keeping the children entertained during half term this week. I can't sing until my cold has cleared up so I thought I'd launch the new website and send an update :) You can pre-order "The Lament of the Black Sheep" today! There is now a new website for the new album! You can find it here: www.thelamentoftheblacksheep.co.uk. It's got the album artwork, track listings and lyrics on it...

... and between today and March 31st you can pre-order your copy of my new album. YAY! Why pre-order? The expected date for shipping pre-orders is May 14th, a full 4 months ahead of public release on September 13th.

You can also opt to have a special mention on the inlay, or if you want to be more involved you can sponsor an aspect of the production of the album :)

A surprising number of people commented on the fact that Bare Foot Folk didn't include the lyrics booklet with the CD. So for this (my third studio album!) we've planned a limited edition run of CD's in a gorgeous matte case with a beautiful 20-page booklet crammed full of lyrics and notes about the songs. Click here to pre-order 'The Lament of the Black Sheep' Ordered it? Yay! Thank you! Here's the rest of my update... FATEA Magazine Female Vocalist of the Year In January I fell of my chair when I was awarded “Female Vocalist of the Year” by FATEA Magazine. It was truly humbling to be placed in such fantastic company - alongside fellow nominees Emily Barker and Lucy Ward.

Other winners in the FATEA awards this year included The Full English, Lisa Knapp, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker and Will Pound... all of whom happened to be nominees or winners at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards this year!

(I'm still trying to get the attention of Mark Radcliffe... although Simon Mayo played my version of "Claudy Banks" on his Radio 2 'Drivetime' show a few weeks ago, which I hope may have been a nudge in the right direction!) Thank you for an incredible 4,348 votes! I must also say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for me to open the main stage at Warwick Folk Festival, your votes saw me in second place with a truly incredible 4,348 votes. Thank you to so much to everyone who voted so fervently :) Gigs, festivals, and radio appearances For full details of upcoming festivals and concerts have a look at the gigs page on my website, it's growing on an almost daily basis:


There's also a few new blogs with the stories behind some of the songs on Bare Foot Folk, so do keep an eye on the news page too:


If you get a moment, please do reply and let me know your news! I'm using "MailChimp" for sending these emails now, but the replies still go straight to me!

Ange x

My Contribution to Radio 2's Cecil Sharp Collection - 'Claudy Banks'

Radio 2's Mark Radcliffe has launched a campaign to collect 21st century recordings of Cecil Sharps work in order to compile a collection of 3 traditional songs, The Seeds Of Love, Claudy Banks and Barbara Allen .

My contribution was my version of 'Claudy Banks' which I learnt and then recorded on garageband in my kitchen in just one evening.

I'm in the middle of working on my new album 'The Lament of the Black Sheep' so I was only able to give this project limited time and attention. This almost didn't happen, but I'm so glad it did. It was really quite inspiring and I am now toying with the idea of a future album featuring a collection of traditional songs. Perhaps all, as with this one, slightly 'Angeified' (is that a word?!) as I found that changing the melody and phrasing to this song really opened up it's potential.

I'm quite pleased with it, and in the words of the station itself: "Very nice it is, too."

You will find my contribution embedded on the Radio 2 website by pasting this link into your url bar http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03phcm3/live

The lovely Mike Harding says the nicest of things!

PODCAST #57 http://www.mikehardingfolkshow.com/podcast-57/ Track : My Old man

"Now an album which has grown on me the more and more I listen to it is Bare Foot Folk from Ange Hardy. She lives down in the west country, writes all her own stuff, but they do sound as though they've come straight out of the soil of Devon and Somerset, I really like them.

...It'll be interesting to see when Ange does another album whether she carries on writing stuff which is very very rootsy and very very folky, I do like her stuff" - MIKE HARDING, The Mike Harding Folk Show

"I was especially excited to hear him anticipating the the next album"

Mike has continued to play tracks from 'Bare Foot Folk', much to my delight and has always been very kind with his words about the album.

I was especially excited to hear him anticipating the the next album 'The Lament of the Black Sheep' as I can confirm it will indeed follow the path of my "very very rootsy and very very folky" style of writing even deeper into the traditional style of writing which I have been exploring this last year. I can not wait to hear what he has to say about this one!

Thank you Mike, for taking a chance on a new name and bringing my music into the warmth of your folk show to sit with you by the fire for a while and thaw through whilst I find my footing in the folk world. I owe you one ;)

Also a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to request tracks on his show and helped to bring me to his attention in the first place. Please do continue listen to and support his shows.

Ange x

Previous shows and quotes... PODCAST #50 http://www.mikehardingfolkshow.com/podcast-50/ Track : Mother Willow Tree

"Bare Foot Folk and is full of really interesting songs, Ange Hardy takes folk tales and creates new folk songs that sound traditional around the story. This is one she's called mother willow tree, it's beautiful" - MIKE HARDING, The Mike Harding Folk Show

PODCAST #43 http://www.mikehardingfolkshow.com/podcast-53/ Track : Waste Wanting

“This reminds me a bit of Lowell George's song 'Long Distance Love' from the album he did with 'Little Feet'” - MIKE HARDING, The Mike Harding Folk Show

PODCAST #34http://www.mikehardingfolkshow.com/podcast-34/ Track : Young Martha's Well

"I've had a good listen to the album, there's some cracking tracks on it. She seems to get folk themes going in her mind, and writes new songs that sound sometimes for all the world as though they are in fact deeply traditional" - MIKE HARDING, The Mike Harding Folk Show

Female Vocalist of the Year 2013 ~ FATEA

I was delighted to have been nominated for Fatea Magazine's "Female Vocalist of the Year 2013"... and I was absolutely blown away by winning the award during last night's award show!

It's humbling to be placed in such fantastic company - alongside fellow nominees Emily Barker and Lucy Ward,.

If anyone out there wants to discover some amazing new music - just buy every album on the award show playlist! If you've not already downloaded the free Fatea Magazine Showcase Session album then you should :)

The full list of winners and nominees can be found on the Fatea website.

Thank you to everyone that has supported me so far in 2014, it's been quite a year already!

Ange x

Warwick Folk Festival! Please VOTE?

Hello friends, fans and family!

... I've got a huge request to make of everybody, I've been shortlisted to perform on the main stage at Warwick Folk Festival this year on the Saturday night, and I need your vote:


Please, please vote for me :) You can vote every day in January - so that's a potential 31 votes each!

Ange x

p.s. I had my 30th birthday last night (we had a pretty good barn dance!), and received the beautiful gift of a new Martin 000-16 guitar which I'll be using to record the new album :) I've called her "Willow Elizabeth" (because she's the third child I never had!).


Ange may well tread bare foot, and this her second studio album may itself tread similarly bare-footed in terms of setting, arrangement and mode of delivery – just voice and guitar for the most part – but it’s an extremely persuasive record that celebrates the basic, unashamed old-fashioned but timeless virtues of fine singing and good honest original songwriting, here entirely unadulterated by any unnecessary instrumentation or intrusive studio gimmicks. And yet it sounds anything but bare, very rich in fact, which is quite an achievement!

Ange hails from Somerset, and is barely approaching her 30th year, yet her writing displays a compelling combination of youthful vigour and perception with a wholly natural command of the folk idiom and a telling maturity of approach. Bare Foot Folk is a truly refreshing set, whose 14 songs clock in at under 40 minutes in total and yet run a strikingly broad gamut of subject matter and mood.

With Bare Foot Folk, Ange has created above all else an album of stories, many with the common theme of loss. These transport us through a varied series of scenarios and viewpoints; some, like Forlorn Land and Mother Willow Tree, deal with moral issues, and Waste Wanting is a desperately wistful, though lyrical reflection, whereas the disc’s central triptych is a linked set with the common theme of the sea and its dangers, and Stop Your Crying, Son is a charming nursery-lullaby.

Ange’s assured and acute sense of melody is distinctly informed by that of traditional song, as the spooky allegory of The Ghost On The Moors, the chilling a cappella ballad White As Snow and the tale of unrequited love It Can’t Be So all well demonstrate, while humour’s not forgotten either (Crafty Father John). The album closes with the beautiful Heaven Waits, another knowing reflection on the acceptance of loss, which the air of an authentic (almost Carter-esque) country-gospel song. Ange’s songs are enchanting without being twee, and earnest without being po-faced or mannered, and Ange achieves a consistency of invention without predictability of expression.

As far as performance style goes, her delicate, melodic and economic guitar accompaniment provides all you need, with never an extraneous note or noodle, while her singing voice is entirely natural, with abundantly clear diction, a good range and smooth coordination of timbre, and is tenderly expressive without a trace of artifice. Her only concession to studio production is the fairly frequent augmentation of her voice with her own uncannily effective (and quite “angelic” – pun intended!) harmonies. All of which adds up to a spellbinding little gem of a disc that positively invites you to play it over again from the start, in its entirety.

Reviewer: David Kidman, Folk and Roots

The year I decided to be a folk musician...

Wow. What a year it's been!

In May this year (was it really only this year!?) I decided to release a 'Folk' album and try my luck at being a 'Folk Musician'. I kicked off my shoes, called the album 'Bare Foot Folk'... and it's gone pretty well...!

I've had a huge amount of support this year, and I owe it all to you. You kind people that buy my music, come to see me perform live, and remind me that music is something that adds light to the world even when it seems like such a hard career path to follow!

Special thanks also go Mike Harding on the Mike Harding Folk Show, Terry Ferdinand's Folk Show on Bishop FM, The Richard Harris 'Folk and Blues Show' on SomerValley FM, David Bond's 'Folk and Roots' show on 10 Radio, the incredible Emma Britton at BBC Somerset, Maverick Magazine, Rock 'n' Reel (R2) Magazine, Fatea Magazine, Bright Young Folk, FolkWords, Armandaleg Music, Readifolk, FolkCast, Irish Music Magazine, Albion Magazine and The Living Tradition magazine to name but some of the wonderful people that have played, reviewed and promoted my music this year.

(Oh, and Rob, who now co-runs “Story Records Limited” as a proper record label... he's done a fair bit this year too...!)

The “Bare Foot Folk” tour saw me playing theatre stages and village halls alike, and the closing night at the “Glastonbury Assembly Rooms” still makes me smile!

I've played a fair few other gigs throughout the year. I shared a stage with some wonderful talent during “Flying Folk” at the Ilminster Arts Center, and I was an honorary member of “Folk Room Records” at Home Farm Festival. The album launch at “Silver Street Sessions” was an absolute delight, and ending the year by playing in the old stables of Dunster Castle for the whole evening at “Dunster by Candlelight” was a beautiful end to a beautiful year.

So what's next?

A new album

I've written my next album! “The Lament of the Black Sheep” is a 12 track acoustic folk album. It's similar to Bare Foot Folk in style, but (hopefully) showing some fairly substantial growth as a folk musician.

I've got time booked in the recording studio in March. I'm VERY excited by this!

There will be a promo video with previews of songs from the album very soon, as well as a chance to pre-order with a lots of lovely ways of showing your support and getting goodies in exchange!

Folk Festivals

Bookings have started coming in for folk festivals next year, but I'm waiting until a few more have confirmed in the new year before I start publishing dates.

Amongst them, however, I've been shortlisted to open the Warwick Folk Festival main stage. It's all going to come down to a public vote to see who get's the honour – I'll be relying on you good people to help with that! There's a video to go alongside this competition... but I'm not allowed to share it with you just yet!

Nominated for "Female Vocalist of the Year"

I was very excited to learn I've been nominated by Fatea Magazine for "Female Vocalist of the Year" alongside the wonderful Lucy Ward and the exceptional Emily Barker. It would be incredible to take the award; but keeping such fine company is good enough for me!

Here's hoping 2014 is as great as 2013 has been!

Ange x

Piers Ford reviews 'Bare Foot Folk'

It is a measure of Ange Hardy's immersion in the art of folk-song writing that even the references in her social media-inspired number “Crafty Father John” are rendered timeless. Only as the song’s last strains fade do you do a double-take and catch yourself wondering if they really had Facebook in the ancient days from which it surely dates.

Hardy’s acoustic album, Bare Foot Folk, is some achievement. Each number is a testament to her gift for telling complete, emotionally engaging stories through lyrics crafted with careful economy and plangent melodies that resonate with traditional cadences, without a single hint of parody.

Her references are the experiences of a life that, as the biographical note on her website implies, has had its stormy times. She scatters them across a landscape of those meadows and glades that she says she sees in her mind’s eye when she’s listening to traditional folk music, and distils them into little jewels of song. Motherhood, loss, broken hearts, faith and the artist’s quest for recognition emerge as the strongest themes.

“Forlorn Land” rings with timely relevance as we prepare to mark the centenary of the Great War in an age blighted by new violence and uncertainty around the world. The ten-part harmony, with its intrinsic lament, is gorgeous. There’s a gritted-teeth lullaby (“Stop Your Crying Son”) that will strike a chord with any new parent and, among several tales of romance and separation, “It Can’t be So” and “The Old Maiden” command attention with their gleaming clarity.

The standout track, however, is “The Ghost on the Moors”, a brooding study of the artist’s essential loneliness and frustration. It’s a struggle that Somerset-based Hardy clearly understands. But with this, her second album, she has signalled her own very real presence in the diverse world of modern British folk music.

Reviewer : Piers Ford, THE ART OF THE TORCH SINGER