Hello friends, fans and family! Wow... I really can't believe it's that time of year again already, but on Monday I'm back in the studio to start recording my next album. I've got to get quite a lot done before Steve Knightley (!) and Patsy Reid (!!) turn up to add their parts... oh wow! This is going to be amazing!! So, the big news is: I'm now taking pre-orders for 'esteesee'. There are several different pre-order options available... and most of them are only available in limited quantities (so you might want to be quite quick). The official release date for the album is October 4th 2015... but by pre-ordering you can choose to get it 2 weeks early, and a limited number of people can even get it 2 months (!!) early. There's also various options for handwritten lyric sheets, signed copies of the books I used for research... and a variety of other very limited goodies. copy and paste this link into the URL to pre-order: http://www.angehardy.com/shop/details/esteesee So what's this new album about then? In case you've missed it: my new album is a project album based on the life and work of the romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the songs for this project were written with the support of public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. I wrote the 14 tracks for esteesee in January. They include songs inspired by Coleridge’s relationships with friends, family and acquaintances, verses of his poetry set to music, new songs inspired by his characters and stories, and even tales based on fragments of his dinner table conversations. I still can't quite believe the quality of the guest musicians I've managed to line up for this album! I've got Steve Knightley ("Show of Hands") providing guest vocals, the spectacular Patsy Reid (founding member of "Breabach") on fiddle, viola and cello, Lukas Drinkwater back on double bass, Alex Cumming back on accordion, Jonny Dyer on the piano, Jo May providing percussion again, Andrew Pearce on the drums, Kate Rouse as the damsel with the hammered dulcimer, Steve Pledger on backing vocals and poetry readings from David Milton (the Watchet town crier) and the wonderful Tamsin Rosewell (broadcaster, artist, and super lovely lady!). The provisional track listing looks a little like this: The Foster-Mother's Tale My Captain The Curse of a Dead Man's Eye William Frend Pantisocracy Epitaph on an Infant George Kubla Khan Friends of Three Mother You Will Rue Me Might is in the mind Esteesee Along the Coleridge Way Elegy for Coleridge
Having returned from my “up and right” tour I’m now getting my head firmly back into the new ‘esteesee’ project! The songs are written, the guest musicians are organised, the studio is booked, the photo shoot is done, and the album artwork is in development. Pre-orders will be available shortly, and the release date will be announced during my radio session with Kathryn Tickell on Amazing Radio this Monday. All that remains is to announce the final session musicians: I am very, very, very excited to announce that Steve Knightley (“Show of Hands” / “Grow Your Own Gig”) will be joining me to provide some guest vocals on the album! Steve Knightley featured prominently on the Cecil Sharp Project album which served as my launchpad into discovering the world of folk music. I’m unbelievably excited, very humbled, and unbelievably excited to have him involved in this project. Did I mention how unbelievably excited I was?! I’m also delighted to announce that Jonny Dyer (of “Jonny Dyer & Vicky Swan" fame) will be playing piano for the album and also to add that the utterly lovely Tamsin Rosewell (“My Folk and their Friends”) will be providing one of the poetry readings. So, the full roster of guest musicians for the album is confirmed as: Steve Knightley providing guest vocals, the spectacular Patsy Reid on fiddle, viola and cello, Lukas Drinkwater on double bass, Alex Cumming on accordion, Jonny Dyer on the piano, Jo May providing percussion, Andrew Pearce on the drums, Kate Rouse as the damsel with the hammered dulcimer, Steve Pledger on backing vocals and poetry readings from David Milton (the Watchet town crier) and the wonderful Tamsin Rosewell (broadcaster, artist, and super lovely lady!). Oh my word, it’s going to be a busy and rather exciting time in the studio!!
Thursday 26th February 2015 ends Sunday 8th March In February and March 2015 Ange is bringing her music to the North East of England, with a short tour of live radio sessions and gigs that passes through Stockport, Settle, Durham, Tynemouth and back through Leicestershire. This mini-tour will include material from her ground breaking albums “Bare Foot Folk” and “The Lament of The Black Sheep” as well as previews of songs from her forthcoming album and other projects. Thursday 26th Feb / Radio Session - Stafford FM Folk Show with Gary Hazlehurst Friday 27th Feb / Concert - Blackshaw's Café, Stockport - SOLD OUT Roots & Fusion Playing Out Tickets: firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday 1st Mar / Concert - Victoria Hall, Settle Guest with O'Hooley and Tidow, Introduced by Mike Harding Tickets: http://www.settlevictoriahall.org.uk/prog/2015/mar_folk2015.html Monday 2nd Mar / Radio Session - Bishop FM The Folk Show with Rebekah Findlay and Lee Huck Tuesday 3rd Mar / Radio Session - Radio Teesdale Folkal Point with Liz Franklin Wednesday 4th Mar / Radio Session - Pure Radio Roots and Fusion with Richard Bolland Thursday 5th Mar / Concert - Durham Old Cinema Launderette Tickets: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/301847 Friday 6th Mar / Concert - Broadway Mr Woods Cafe Tickets: email@example.com Saturday 7th Mar / Concert - Leicestershire - SOLD OUT House Concert 'Songs From The Yurt' “She performs with a warmth that is both disarming and inspirational. Her songs of life and the countryside feel traditional, and she augments voice and guitar with very effective use of a loop pedal to add harmonies or extra instruments. It is a great feat of perfect timing.” - R2 Magazine Since winning FATEA Female Vocalist of the Year award in January 2014 Ange Hardy has established an enviable reputation as one of the fastest emerging folk acts in the UK. Her third studio album ‘The Lament of The Black Sheep” was one of only three folk albums last year to be awarded 5-stars by The Telegraph. Bringing the story full circle it was in January 2015 awarded FATEA’s most prestigious award of all, Album of the Year, in the same week that Mike Harding referred to Ange Hardy as “one of the most interesting, powerful and talented singers and songwriters to come out of the last couple of years”. If you have any enquiries or ticket queries feel free to phone her tour manager Rob on 07703 677 578 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Studio time for my fourth album esteesee (pronounced ‘S T C’, the initials of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge) is now booked along with a roster of guest musicians that includes Patsy Reid on fiddle, voila and cello, Lukas Drinkwater on double bass, Alex Cummings on accordion, Jo May providing percussion, Kate Rouse as the damsel with the hammered dulcimer, Steve Pledger on backing vocals and a special guest appearance from David Milton, the Watchet town crier. The songs for this project are being written with the support of public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, who have supported me with grant funding to write and present an evening of music inspired by the life and work of Coleridge, with plans in place to tour the evening over 14 nights along the route of The Coleridge Way in October 2015 (somehow we seem to have scheduled this for 14 continuous nights though... so that's going to be fun!). The venues for the route are still being mapped out; but the tour will start in Nether Stowey and end at the gorgeous Lynmouth Pavilion. The hugely talented and beautifully lovely Lukas Drinkwater will provide backing vocals, double bass, and guitar during the tour. The 14 tracks for esteesee were all written for this project in the month of January 2015... I finished writing the last one yesterday. They include songs inspired by Coleridge’s relationships with friends, family and acquaintances, verses of his poetry set to music, new songs inspired by his characters and stories, and even tales based on fragments of his dinner table conversations. The provisional track listing is now taking shape, for those of you who are interested: The Foster-Mother’s Tale My Captain The Curse of a Dead Man’s Eye Friends of Three George Along the Coleridge Way Might is in the Mind William Frend Epitaph on an Infant Pantisocracy Mother You Shall Rue Me Kubla Khan Esteesee Elegy for Coleridge The album will be launched shortly ahead of the October tour. For more details and to stay updated on the project join the mailing list at www.esteesee.co.uk.
So… I can’t quite believe I’m saying this… but I’ve just been nominated in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. For my “non folky” friends: this is a pretty big deal. The BBC Folk Awards are, without question, the most prestigious folk awards in the UK. 12 months ago I’d had no national airplay. I was writing an album and hoping against hope that it would get recognised enough for me to somehow keep on ‘doing music’…. Since then Radio 2 have played the last 3 CD’s that I released (Bare Foot Folk, The Lament of The Black Sheep, and The Little Holly Tree). A number of other significant events happened; winning FATEA’s ‘Female Vocalist of the Year’, getting 5-star reviews in The Telegraph, receiving some lovely comments from folk veteran Mike Harding, and – above all else – receiving the overwhelming support of the folk community. That community consists of fans, musicians, broadcasters, promoters, bloggers, magazine freelancers, and everybody who has taken the time to open their arms and welcome me into their world. I’ve been absolutely blown away by the love and acceptance I’ve received over this past year. You all know who you are: thank you! At the beginning of January I went “professional”. Music is not longer a hobby it’s something I hope to make a living from. As a mother of young children that’s a pretty big step; being nominated for an award like this is affirmation that the community is behind me, and that I’m doing things okay. So, from me to the folk community: thank you! I hope you enjoy the next album ;) I’m honoured to be nominated in such a strong category, and I can’t wait to meet those I’ve not yet met in Cardiff on April 22nd for the Folk Awards! The genuinely bewildering dilemma of what I’m wearing has already been sorted! (Thank you Tamsin, you’re amazing!) Do go and have a look at the full list of nominees, they are all - without exception - incredible: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/Rdcvm12ST6lY2vctrhK8k5/folk-awards-2015-the-nominees Ange x
Remember that long list of things I did during November? Well, I did leave one little thing off the list... At the end of November I wrote a rather festive song. I wrote it on the Friday, prepared the artwork on the Saturday, performed it at a gig on the Monday, recorded it in the studio on the Tuesday, and it was with the CD replicators by the Wednesday... We also filmed a video for it in the garden last weekend and posted the CD's out to lots of people on Tuesday... because, y'know, there's not really enough stuff going on at Christmas already ;) The song was inspired by a lone holly tree that I saw near the tiny village of Chumleigh while flyer dropping with Steve Pledger for the final week of our Just Passing Through tour. By way of saying "Merry Christmas" I've posted a free copy of the CD to everyone that has ever paid for an album on my website (that seemed like a good idea before I spent 3 solid days packing envelopes!) if you're not one of those you can either find it on iTunes, Spotify, or buy it from my website. I'm also going to be including a copy with all the Christmas bundles sold on my website. I'll be performing the song live and completely unplugged, with the lovely Steve Pledger providing backing vocals, during the BBC Somerset Christmas Special (during which I'll also be playing my Harp for the first time ever in public... no pressure!). So, on that note I'd like to just say Merry Christmas! May your new year be full of love, laughter and music! :) Ange x
November has been a hugely significant month, I’ve worked incredibly hard and played just as hard too and created some of my most significant lifetime memories in the process! I started the month on stage with none other than the legendary Nic Jones of Penguin Egg fame in an utterly surreal set of duets where he provided support vocals to two of my own songs ‘The Sailor’s Farewell’ and ‘The Wanting Wife’ before we were joined by the lovely Lukas Drinkwater and Greg Hancock and singing ‘The Rose of Allendale’ and the classic ‘The Little Pot Stove’ in a performance that will stay with me forever. A very special gig indeed! The next thing November was to bring me was probably one of the most poinient moments of my life as I stood, bare footed in central lobby of the houses of parliament at the turn of midnight on the centenary of WW1 and sang, acapella, amazing grace. Wow! I was also lucky enough to sing ‘She Moves Through The Fair’ in Westminster Hall and ‘John Ball’ along with two members of Merry Hell and Blanch Rowen on the Parliamentary patio while there. (We were all invited to a very rare a beautiful evening of folk music held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Folk Arts hosted by Cerys Matthews in the House of Commons Jubilee Room. It was supported by the EFDSS and TRAC) What would my bare footed self at the age of 14 on the streets of Ireland have said if someone had told me that this is what I was going to do with my life?! A very significant day in my life and I owe a huge thank you to the beautiful Tamsin Rosewell who chose to take me on that journey and even travel it bare footed with me! You can follow our bare feet through our London trip… Next, I continued on tour with the hugely talented, extreme gentleman and now good friend Steve Pledger (aka ‘Legs’). I sent Legs up many a long driveway on our flyer drops as we proceeded to hand promote 10 of the hilliest villages in Somerset, we went through many pairs of socks, packets of ‘go ahead’ bars and costa coffees together and we have had an utter blast on what ended up being a sell out tour! Huge thanks goes to Becky, Steve’s lovely wife for all of her help in running the bar and lights and to Rob my amazing ‘husband face’ who did all the design, web work and sound. It was an epic tour and I am utterly exhausted but it was just so much fun. Steve and I have loved singing together and although we are going onto our solo projects again for the moment, I am certain that we will be joining forces again before too long. So, December is almost upon us and I for one can not wait for the twinkling lights, glowing fire, Minced pies and slightly too intensely competitive family board games that Christmas has to bring! I had planned Decmber entirely off but… like that was going to happen ;) So, before we get out the scrabble… I am off to Stevenage on Tuesday/Wednesday to record a session on Daria Kulesh’s Show ‘The F Spot which will go out on Blues and Roots Radio on the 12th December at 10pm. Then I will be performing at the BBC Somerset Christmas Special, hosted by 'The Emma Britton’ to be held in St Mary’s Church in Bridgwater on the evening of the 12th and will be recorded and then broadcast over the Christmas period on BBC Somerset. I will be continuing to finish planning the Feb/March northern tour in hope of announcing the final dates before Christmas. And finally… Something especially Christmassy shall be happening on the 12th of December but I can’t say what! All I will say is that when you all find out…it will be music to your ears ;) TTFN, Ange x http://www.angehardy.com/news/2014/11/29/november-newsletter
Ange Hardy may not have always taken the easy route and as a teenage runaway can at least in some part identify with the black sheep of her album’s title. But having finally caught up with herself Ange is rebuilding bridges and settling into a family life with her own young children. Along the way she has gained a love of folksong and tradition, which although she continues to write her own unique material, is starting to take on greater significance. The Lament Of The Black Sheep features a set of songs that sound ageless and timeless, as Ange weaves stories of home and belonging into a musical tableau, capturing hopes, fears and an unfolding journey that ultimately has led her home. It’s an outstanding work graced by some great playing, with Ange’s ever-improving guitar technique nimbly supported by some notable guests. Above all, however, is Ange’s voice and her great capacity for harmony. It’s one of the most beautiful records you’ll hear this year and Ange has kindly taken a little time to tell us all about it. http://www.folkradio.co.uk/2014/09/ange-hardy-interview/
There is not a weak track among the 14 on Somerset singer-songwriter Ange Hardy's album The Lament of the Black Sheep. Hardy has a lovely voice – sweet and expressive – which brought her the Female Vocalist of the Year 2013 Award from Fatea Magazine. This, her third studio album, is bursting with interesting storytelling songs, as she perfectly balances the strengths of traditional folk music with fresh writing, which neither seems like pastiche or cloying imitation. "she perfectly balances the strengths of traditional folk music with fresh writing" I think the reason the songs are so full of colour and resonance is that Hardy has poured her own memories and characters into them (you can see that emotion even in the moving dedication to her Poppa Willis in the sleeve notes). The title track is strangely pleasant melancholy, in a re-working of the classic nursery rhyme Baa Baa (you know the rest), along with clever new songs on old themes such as ghosts (The Young Librarian), the pride of working the land (The Tilling Bird), and partings (The Sailor’s Farewell). There's wit, too, especially in The Woolgatherer: I am a young mother, a mother of two, For I courted a farm hand my father knew. He was tall and trim, and fit as an ox, But he wasn't the sharpest of tools in the box. Hardy is supported by a classy band, comprising James Findlay (vocals, fiddle) Lukas Drinkwater (double bass, backing vocals) Jon Dyer (flute, whistle) and Alex Cumming (accordion, backing vocals). Not forgetting Jo May (percussion), who even plays the spoons. An appropriate 'instrument' for a truly fine folk album that serves up so many treats. Reviewer : Martin Chilton, The Telegraph *****
I had been looking forward to receiving this album from Ange Hardy, as it was the long anticipated follow up to her last excellent CD – ‘Bare Foot Folk’. The previous offering was so good, that I thought that it would be difficult to follow. I’m delighted to report that she has managed to come up with a little gem of a recording with ‘The Lament of The Black Sheep’. It’s always difficult to review Ange Hardy, because there is usually some point of reference which you can use as an comparison of what an artist sounds like. In this case she sounds like, well Ange Hardy…. Every now and again you come across a songwriter who has the gift of being able to produce songs which sound like they have been discovered in a book of songs from years ago, dusted down and reinterpreted. Ange has the rare ability to be able to write convincingly in a ‘traditional’ style which sounds genuinely authentic. "Ange has the rare ability to be able to write convincingly in a ‘traditional’ style which sounds genuinely authentic." To complete the magic, she sings with conviction and sensitivity with stunning harmonies which she can actually reproduce in a live concert. Using ‘looping’ pedals, she sings a line – plays it back adds another and another and the end result is magnificent. The Lament of The Black Sheep is an album that you need to sit and listen to very carefully to fully appreciate the wordcraft and melody structure of the songs. The songwriting skills are complimented by well thought out arrangements and shade of light and dark to bring out the impact of the lyrics. Additional musicians make a massive but subtle contribution to the album, and Ange has roped in some excellent talent to appear on certain tracks. James Findlay | Lukas Drinkwater | Jon Dyer | Alex Cumming | Jo May "There has already been a stack of glowing appreciation showered on the recording, all which I can only agree with." This review has perhaps arrives a little late as I have had the CD for over a month. There has already been a stack of glowing appreciation showered on the recording, all which I can only agree with. I really can’t wait for the next offering… Reviewer : Alan Morley, UK Folk Music