Mississippi native Hardy was enjoying plenty of success as a songwriter before he decided to step into the artist spotlight himself. He co-wrote singles for Florida Georgia Line (‘Simple’, ‘Talk You Out Of It’), Blake Shelton (‘God’s Country’) and Morgan Wallen (‘Up Down’). In 2018 and 2019 he released EPs and last year he unleashed his well-received Hixtape, Vol 1, which saw him collaborating with 17 artists. At the moment Hardy is riding high in the US with his single ‘One Beer’ featuring Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson, and today he’s released his debut album ‘A Rock’.
In the lead-up to ‘A Rock’ Hardy has been showcasing his versatility as both a singer and a writer. Fans have been treated to several songs including the Florida Georgia Line-esque ‘Give Heaven Some Hell’, the surprisingly romantic ‘Boyfriend’ and the Country boy anthem ‘Truck’. The variety heard between those songs is a good indication of what to expect from ‘A Rock’. All of the 12 songs on the record are distinguishable from each other with Hardy trying different sounds and styles on every track.
‘So Close’ featuring Ashland Craft is one of the album’s biggest surprises. The song is a sultry R&B-infused Country track and it features a very soulful vocal from Hardy. You hear him pushing his vocals in a direction you haven’t heard before and he soars on the explosive chorus. On ‘Hate Your Hometown’ Hardy injects some rock into the mix and his gritty voice sounds fantastic against the backdrop of heavier guitars, while on ‘Where Ya At’ he ups the tempo for a rousing Country anthem.
Elsewhere on the record the ballad ‘Ain’t a Bad Day’ could very well give Hardy a huge radio hit, ‘Unapologetically Country As Hell’ embraces rising star’s redneck side, and ‘Broke Boy’ combines shimmering guitars with a steady beat for one of the album’s highlights. The title track, ‘A Rock’ closes the record and it’s the most vulnerable track here. It’s refreshing to hear Hardy with a stripped-back production and it allows the more soulful side of his voice to shine.
‘A Rock’ is a storming debut from Hardy. It builds on the promise that we’ve seen over the last couple of years and delivers a cohesive body of work that marks him out as one of the big new stars of the genre. Any of the songs on here could be singles and the record could very well see him blow up in the genre. A confident and assured collection, ‘A Rock’ showcases Hardy’s talents as a songwriter and an artist, and it will definitely put him on more people’s radars.
Track list: 1. Truck 2. Boyfriend 3. Give Heaven Some Hell 4. Boots 5. Where Ya At 6. Ain’t a Bad Day 7. One Beer (feat. Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson) 8. So Close (feat. Ashland Craft) 9. Broke Boy 10. Hate Your Hometown 11. Unapologetically Country As Hell 12. A Rock Record label: Big Loud Release date: 4th September 2020 Buy A Rock