Reviews of Bare Foot Folk

**** R2 Magazine ROCK 'n' REEL

ANGE HARDY - Bare Foot Folk
Four stars ****

Somerset-based songstress Ange Hardy's second studio album is a pleasing collection of unfailingly listenable, self-penned acoustic songs. Amongst this charming assortment of melodies we are treated to highly catchy tunes, some nods to ancient times as well as choice references to the present day.

Hardy brings the stylings of trad folk into a modern setting as declared from the outset in 'Young Martha's Well'. With tongue lodged firmly in cheek (or is it?) she then gives us 'Crafty Father John', which relates the church confessional to the era of Facebook and Fairtrade.

Sung in a courtly musical fashion, the a cappella 'White As Snow' and the soothing 'Forlorn Land' have welcome echoes of recent work by Mediaeval Baebes. 'The Storm Has Now Begun' is a sea shanty sung as a round, virtually nursery rhyme style, and 'My Old Man' surely destined to be picked up by many a folk club performer.

The overall ambience of the CD is achieved seemingly effortlessly with the aid of nicely fingerpicked guitar and the singer's own multi-tracked harmonies.

The Arrangements on the record and unfussy but not basic, Hardy's vocals are graceful without sounding precious, and the delivery is sensitive but never cloying.

Reviewer: Colin Bailey, R2 Magazine ROCK 'n' REEL.


MAVERICK review of Bare Foot Folk

Somerset-born Ange Hardy is a traditional-rooted folk singer-songwriter. On this second album she has stripped her sound back to the basics of just her voice and guitar. The songs don’t belong to the 21st century, they’re story ballads of times long past, people from the pages of history. It is exemplary of Ange to retain this old ballad style from years and years ago. I cannot

find fault with her songs at all, they had me gripped to my seat, hanging on to every word. I especially enjoyed the plaintive Away With You Lassie and the jaunty It Can’t Be So with its lush harmonies.

Reviewer : MAVERICK Magazine


Albion Magazine Review of Bare Foot Folk

Ange Hardy is a new name who has been making real waves on the folk scene, and this, her second album, shows why. From the start the listener is pulled into Hardy's world. She is a well-travelled and intelligent storyteller with a beguiling voice and tremendous musical charm. All the tracks are self-penned and at times autobiographical, at others allegorical, but in each case the result is so convincing that any of them could have tumbled out of the trad repertoire. The album is full of beautiful vocal harmonies, moving deftly from the upbeat to ballads like Forlorn Land or the lullaby Stop Your Crying Son, with some tongue-in-cheek word play on the great Crafty Father John. This breathtaking collection of contemporary and personal folk songs can stand alongside anything by Kate Rusby or Kathryn Roberts. It has proved to be an album to which I've returned time and again.

Reviewer: James Turner, Albion


FATEA reviews Bare Foot Folk

I've had this album in my car for the last week, listening as I went about my time. I think it takes a number of listens to appreciate what this album has achieved, and how brightly it actually shines. What is clear from the start is that Ange has a songbird voice. Smooth and natural, never shrill or indeed, anything less than endearing. This voice is sometimes alone, sometimes layered to create plush harmonies in an otherwise simple orchestration.

For the majority of the the album backing for the vocal is achieved by a single, simple acoustic guitar. This consistency achieves a theme for the album musically which binds it together very well. But it is the songs themselves that are allowed to be the stars here. They do give the impression of being traditional when in fact Ange has penned the whole album. They are beautifully told tales of trying to get a son to sleep or a ship lost at sea or an inappropriate Facebook status. All erudite, heartfelt and written with a tenderness that allows you to lose yourself in the vocal delivery. A lovely album.

Reviewer: Mike Rolland, FATEA


The Bright Young Folk Review

Ange Hardy is a storyteller. This is by far the main thing to take from her second studio album Bare Foot Folk. She uses her peaceful vocals and soothing guitar strumming to lift the spirits and get you swaying your head to match the soothing melody.

Each song on the 14 track album is originally written by Ange, which is quite surprising, in a good way. The songs themselves are arranged in such a way that they sound to all intents and purposes to actually be traditional ballads.

When you listen to the lyrics you get a powerful traditional feel that you’d normally get with old songs brought to light. With this album though they are all new adaptations and original songs, perhaps with traditional influences, but still original.

The songs are mostly inspired by traditional stories but have had all the elements Ange wanted taken out and told through her delicate harmonics. There is a nice mix of more modern ideas too, such as Crafty Father John which is inspired by a post seen on Facebook but that still holds a tale.

Ange’s sound itself is sweet, that is the only real word for it. Sweet as in pleasant to hear and leaves you wanting to have just one more. The album is all her work so the extra voice dubbing is a good addition as it gives her already strong voice an extra magical hold over the listeners.

Each song, musically, has a similar layout: Ange’s voice and a soft guitar background. But each song really goes into the individuality of its story and no two songs on the albums sounds like a repeat, the overall theme sound may be the same, but every song is its own distinct flavour.

As well as soft (and often sad) stories about lost ships and lost lovers there are also a few songs that seem to be much more heartfelt. Examples here would be Young Martha’s Well, My Old Man and The Ghost on the Moor’ which seem to all come from scenarios more relatable to modern times (indirectly).

A particularly interesting song on the album is an adapted sea shanty called The Storm Has Now Begun which uses a soft bodhrán drum rather than a guitar to give a slightly jollier beat (which, as is usually the way with folk, is much jollier than the actual lyrics).

This particular song is also enjoyable because this song sees Ange throwing different background vocals muttering different chorus lines underneath the main lyrics.

Perhaps the standout from this collection would be Stop Your Crying Son. If you did not know that Ange was a proud mother already then you certainly would after hearing this song, only a mother could write such a warming lullaby. The poetry of the song mixed with the pacifying vocals makes this the crown jewel of the album.

This is an excellent follow up album and shows a true mothering nature of storytelling and should be enjoyed by everyone.

Reviewer: Paul Rawcliffe, bright young folk


'Bare Foot Folk' - A Review from FolkWords

'Bare Foot Folk' is quite simply a delightful collection of English folk in classic style from Ange Hardy. The melodies are unadulterated, the guitar work mouth-watering, the vocals enchanting with laid-bareAnge Hardy harmonies. What forges the surprise is these are all self-penned songs that are at once ancient then ageless; from three hundred years ago or from yesterday.

The opener ‘Young Martha’s Well’ is as pure a slice of folk as you’re likely to find – a narrative of love and sadness – just the fare you would expect. What you don’t expect is this modern folk comes with all the essence of a traditional pedigree. By contrast, ‘Crafty Father John’ has a delightful melody and tells a ‘church confession box’ narrative but leaps forward hundreds of years with its reference to exposing your ‘sins’ on your social network. A moral tale about purity of heart follows, as ‘Mother Willow Tree’ sits perfectly within Ange’s style and feel for English folk.

'Bare Foot Folk', due for release at the end of May on Story Records, reflects an artist working within traditional roots and proving that their shoots remain as lush as ever in her capable hands. There are battle cries and songs of suffering, tales of the sea and sparkling shanties, legends of loss and laughter and a good ghost story. All the elements of the narrative tradition are here in ‘Forlorn Land’, ‘Away With You Lassie’, ‘It Can’t be So’ and ‘The Ghost On The Moors’ – all beautifully presented with stripped-back clarity. There’s only one concession to the modern world - a loop pedal to effect the layered harmonies.

This is an album that will appeal to folkies immersed in the tradition and those that push boundaries. Futures that pay homage to their history, and both will gain so much from 'Bare Foot Folk'. There's only one wish - that we could have the lyrics included.

Reviewer: Tim Carroll, folkwords.com


Irish Music Magazine review  Bare Foot Folk

This is mesmerising album and all the more so for being the reviewers nightmare – a new artiste with a set of self–penned tracks that are unfamiliar.
Hardy has a voice that captivates from the first syllable and when this is combined with a sure footed performance of well–crafted story songs she is on a winner. I spent the first few tracks trying to pin down her sound. It reminded me of both Adrienne Johnston and the female members of the wonderful Artisan.
She can combine genres skilfully, make us smile and then feel heartbreak while all the while entrancing us in what are basically short, short stories set to music.
White as Snow is one of the many tracks on this CD that in a century from now will have singers recording it as “traditional”. On a lighter note she entertains us with Crafty Father John which she tells us on the liner notes was inspired by postings on Facebook.
Ange Hardy is a worthy standard bearer of the true soul of folk music as we knew it in the 1960s. She tells stories but she also awakens the conscience. Forlorn Land will resonate with anyone looking at war torn lands and the injustices perpetrated by often well meaning people. Away with You Lassie and The Old Maiden are both inspired by that great inspiration of folk songs, the sea. She keeps us at sea on the more upbeat The Storm has Now Begun with a simple bodhran accompaniment in the shanty style.
There as a sort of country lilt on My Old Man that will lift your spirits. Then she haunts you with The Ghost on the Moors.
Many parents will learn Stop Your Crying Son off by heart in the hope that its sentiments will send that child off to sleep. She closes the all too short album with two beautiful philosophical songs about our need to accept and by accepting triumph over our worries. It may sound deep but believe me it is just beautiful in sentiment and delivery.
This is a gem of an album from a lady with the voice and the vocal skills to regain the truth of folk music in telling tales, opening minds and making us laugh.

Reviewer: Nicky Rossiter, Irish Music Magazine


Bare Foot Folk reviewed by 'Folk Roundabout Magazine'

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.

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 Roundabout Magazine


FOLK AND ROOTS reviews BARE FOOT FOLK

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


A review of 'Bare Foot Folk' ...Nicky Rossiter

Ange Hardy can combine genres skillfully, make us smile and then feel heartbreak while entrancing us in short, short stories set to music.

"White as Snow" is one of the many tracks on this CD that, a century from now, will have singers recording it as "traditional." On a lighter note she entertains us with "Crafty Father John," which she tells us on the liner notes was inspired by postings on Facebook.

Hardy is a worthy standard bearer of the true soul of folk music as we knew it in the 1960s. She tells stories, but she also awakens the conscience. "Forlorn Land" will resonate with anyone looking at war-torn lands and the injustices perpetrated by often well-meaning people. "Away with You Lassie" and "The Old Maiden" are both inspired by that great inspiration of folk songs, the sea. She keeps us at sea on the more upbeat "The Storm has Now Begun," with a simple bodhran accompaniment in the shanty style.

There as a sort of country lilt on "My Old Man" that will lift your spirits. Then she haunts you with "The Ghost on the Moors."

Many parents will learn "Stop Your Crying Son" by heart in the hope that its sentiments will send that child off to sleep. She closes the all-too-short album with two beautiful philosophical songs about our need to accept and by accepting triumph over our worries. It may sound deep, but believe me it is just beautiful in sentiment and delivery.

This is a gem of an album from a lady with the voice and the vocal skills to regain the truth of folk music in telling tales, opening minds and making us laugh.

Reviewer : Nicky Rossiter, Rambles.NET


A review from The Young Folk

Ange Hardy is well known for being a brilliant songwriter and singer.  Her second album, ‘Bare Foot Folk’, is a collection of 14 beautifully crafted songs written by Ange.  All her songs contain interesting and engaging lyrics set to wonderfully fitting tunes, mostly accompanied by her delicate guitar playing. Although none of the songs are from traditional sources, many of them narrate tales and are set to tunes that could easily be mistaken for traditional. The aim of the CD, for me, is very clear – and that is to present stories simply but beautifully and not concentrating on the instrumentation but the tune and the words.  Her guitar playing is immaculate and very fitting for the album, with the vocal harmonies at times enhancing the messages that the songs convey.  Furthermore, Ange has a beautifully clear voice which is ideal for the story telling aspects of her songs as well as being incredibly pleasant to listen to.

One of my favourite songs on the album is ‘Crafty Father John’. Ange’s catchy tune gives the song a very traditional sound; however, her witty lyrics carry a very modern message about Facebook and inappropriate status updates. It sounds like one of those songs that you heard before, but it is completely original in words and in tune.  I particularly love the guitar accompaniment for this song, as it adds a strong rhythmic structure.
Another song in which Ange demonstrates exceptional song writing  is ‘White As Snow’. It is inspired by a scene in the film ‘Another Earth’ which is an incredibly strange fantasy  about a second planet Earth appearing in the sky. Anyway, in the song I think Ange has really captured the abstract, surreal mood of the film. The harmonies in this song are absolutely beautiful. It is sung unaccompanied which gives the song an incredibly icy, eerie feel that matches the lyrics and the story the song tells. 
‘It Can't Be So’ is a song about impossible love but uses many images from traditional songs. It is very clear that Ange Hardy enjoys these traditional images. I really like how Ange paints the scene at the beginning of each verse. The chorus for this song is particularly catchy, guaranteed to get you singing along.Furthermore, Ange's impressive harmonies add texture to the tracks.  I have to say that I was amazed by the 10 part harmony during the chorus of the song ‘Forlorn Land’ which is extremely effective in transforming the song into a battle cry. Also, it enhances the idea that perhaps to be heard you need to be many voices which is sort of what the song is about. ‘The Storm Has Now Begun’ is a sea shanty with overlapping lyrics, making it really interesting to listen to. It has a very traditional feel due to the rhythmic bodhran drum accompaniment. 

One great aspect about the CD is how the songs link together. Sometimes the links are obvious,  (especially if you read the sleeve notes), such as ‘Away With You Lassie’, ‘The Old Maiden’ and ‘The Storm Has Now Begun’ which are about life and tragedy at sea as well as the people left behind. But other connections are more subtle like ‘Young Martha's Well’ and ‘Stop Your Crying Son’ which both have associations with parenthood – a natural subject for Ange, a mother herself. I think these links gives the album a sense of completeness, suggesting it should really be listened to in sequence rather than on 'shuffle'. It is certainly true to say that no song disappoints and I am fond of every single one!

Reviewer : The Young Folk


She Dances in the Mind

I've been mulling over Ange Hardy's second album "Bare Foot Folk".

I haven't checked out her first album, though I thoroughly intend to do so in the near future, this album has certainly piqued my interest.

It is an album which will have something for everyone, Ange Hardy makes a very determined (and accomplished) attempt to write and sing a range of (14) original songs that capture the different spirits and flavours of folk music in the UK, but it also manages to do much more than that.

The album not only combines the expected sensibilities of folk music, it also contains an almost primal and natural rhythm which elevates it from an initial listening into more deeper themes with a longer lasting and rewarding listen. The joys that Ange Hardy experiences in her life burn warmly in the background to several of the tracks here.

"Stop your crying son" is a lullaby in every sense of the word. Ange sings the lyrics with calming, loving and soft mother tones, combined her own simple quiet, and emotive harmony. The audio mixing of this harmony on this track deserves mention as how it should be done. It has few lyrics but manages to tie together the repetition and soothing nature of a lullaby to a child, whilst also evoking a very real scene. When you hear the singer reassure, "If I sang an old folk song.. and took time to strum along... would you stop you crying son?" you can picture the home scene of the artist using her wiles, her natural glow and music to calm down an upset little guy. In an odd sort of way the acoustic guitar along with this track reminded me of something else.. I keep thinking of Postman Pat, might be imagining things there! Either way it has an enjoyable rhythm and a song which could be sung to another at any time through our history. I would not be exaggerating when I say that this track makes me really want to learn acoustic guitar!

Motherhood is a big theme across several tracks, this makes sense given the time between the first and second album dedicated to her young son and daughter. It all shines through in the content of this album though and gifts her tracks with a sense of personal experience. But its not just the face of the nurturing mother at home that seeps from this album, its also nature itself as a mother, to the extent that it is a collection of music that neopagans and nature lovers could potentially have a lot of respect for as well as the folk community.   

"Forlorn Land" illustrates this theme too. It is essentially a whisper of the earth to calm anxious soldiers, whilst equally conveying the futility of battle, "calm down, peace be upon your land". It is the purest stuff of folklore that if it were not for the gun references would not be out of place being sung within Valhalla in an entirelly setting altogether. It is this timeless character which precisely cements the song into folk consciousness and taps into human emotions across ages. It has a reverential tone which soothes much like a divine protector bringing final peace for soldiers before a sacrifice and possibly calling for the putting down of guns. Peace is also a notion which runs through the excellent "Willow Mother Tree" which describes the interplay between man and nature, while building up a mythology around nature luring and taking revenge on the hunters entering the woods to shoot wildlife. The message of peace, and protest against violent patriarchy can be inferred from the work which once again makes me believe this could be a Druid's best friend as well as on the cd shelf at Ethel's two bed terrace.

These depths make the album fresh, but it is not all serious.. far from it. Track 2, "Crafty Father John" describes an instance of time honoured confession within a local church told with humour, and a wonderful modern reference to Facebook,"In this booth, tell only truth, God sees your Facebook page". "The Storm has now begun" calls forth imagery of a jamboree, a village celebration and the energy and excitement of some tradition that people get together about, it makes me think of a cheese rolling competition for some reason. A song about cheese would make this an excellent duo. "The Ghost of the Moors" is sung with a enigmatic, anticipatory voice that describes the other-worldly in minute detail and wonder. “My Old Maiden” and “My Old Man” are both songs showcasing strength and wisdom in age, and bring a balance of age experiences forward in the music highlighting Ange Hardy's skill at writing and performing from different perspectives, an essential tool to keeping the music fresh and varied.

Her music acknowledges and showcases a range of emotions. Her voice is crisp and mesmerising yet familiar, like a warm single malt with a caramel finish compared to the light Speyside notes of +Louise JordaLouise Jordan and peaty earnestness of Lucy Ward, yes I have just described folk singers as akin to whisky, it is a compliment I assure you all. Ange Hardy's acoustic guitar playing is good, solid and clear throughout all tracks; what I am trying to say is that the album is deep and light, serious and fun, varied yet familiar. Ange Hardy's album has something for everyone. Whilst it is apparent which tracks stand out for myself, there are only a small number which I think are good but not stellar "Young Marthas Well", "Heaven Waits", and "Away with you Lassie" all tracks are equally atmospheric and paint a picture in the mind, and it is just a personal opinion. Ange Hardy clearly and surely has drawn on the positive experiences of nurturing a family and linked this with wider folk themes and a spirit of eco-activism. This album has found itself into my mind and she is dancing within it!

Reviewer: Peter Taranaski, She Dances in the Mind


NetRhythms-Home to the Best Acoustic Roots Music

Three years on from her studio debut, the Somerset-born singer-songwriter returns with a far more stripped down follow-up reflected by its title, dispensing with the fully produced sound featuring drums, piano and strings in favour of just Hardy and an acoustic guitar.

Although all 14 songs are self-penned, Hardy’s gift is to make them sound traditional, weaving her stories around a series of themes that have been folk staples for centuries. Young Martha’s Well, for example, concerns a mother’s enduring love while Away With You Lassie finds the narrator torn between finding a new life and staying true to the lover lost at sea, the double tracked The Storm At Sea another shanty with bodhran providing the rhythm. Mother Willow Tree addressing the need for a pure heart and, sung in 10 part harmony, Forlorn Land a lament about the injustices of war.

Unlike many who dig back into the past for their inspirations, Hardy takes many of her cues from contemporary sources, refitting them to the form of her songs; thus the unaccompanied multi-tracked White As Snow’s haunting death ballad stems from a scene in the sci-fi film Another Earth while, set to a jaunty trad melody, the confessional box tale of Crafty Father John features lines about not buying Fair Trade coffee and Facebook status updates.

There’s a strong autobiographical element too, often couched in metaphor among her stories (the need to be noticed on The Ghost On The Moor, for instance), but overt on Stop Your Crying Son, a mother’s love lullaby written for her baby son, and Waste Wanting, a touching song rooted in her desperate childhood attempts to win her absent father’s love.

An album about loss, love, search for self and belonging, it closes with the lovely Appalachian hymnal Heaven Waits, a ‘called home’ acceptance that, as she puts it, the trials of this life on earth are but a part of our eternity.

Having taken time off to raise her family, she’s starting to re-establish herself on the folk circuit again, With an album like this as a calling card, she should have little problem getting bookings.

Reviewer: Mike Davies, NetRythms


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


FolkWorld

An album of new English ballads in traditional style. Ange Hardy is a relatively new voice on the folk scene - and what a lovely warm voice it is. Her CD "Bare Foot Folk" presents her voice in pure form - there are just some vocal harmonies (with voice dubbing) and guitar playing (yet there are also some a capella songs and one accompanied by bodhran).

All songs are written by Ange - but many of them would easily get away as traditionals. Even though Ange is from Somerset, many of the songs have a trad Irish feel to them - and there is a reason for this, as Ange learnt to play guitar when she was homeless in Ireland at the age 14.

To pull off an album that is so much focussed on a voice and on newly written songs, you need a good voice, excellent vocal skills and songwriting talent. Ange Hardy proves with this album that she has all of these attributes. 

Reviewer: Michael Moll, FolkWorld


"Had never hear of Ange Hardy until I went to her Bare Foot Folk gig. Was blown away. Joni Mitchell meets Joan Baez meets Lily Rosemary. To find an artist who can write and sing songs of this quality is very rare in the modern era. Was also great to hear her tell the audience exactly what each song was about or why she wrote it and what it meant to her. Songs from the heart. Bare Foot Folk knocked my shoes & socks off."
     - Gavin C. Taylor  "Gavit", Amazon reviewer 

"Got given this CD after a bizarre chain of events lead it to my door.....I haven't stopped playing it since! The amazing talent of this lady allows her to create songs of such beauty, with a completely timeless quality. The delicious Mother Willow Tree and The Storm Has Now Begun are favourites. The album will draw you in, Ange has an amazing voice, so so beautiful!"
     - BarefootweaverAmazon reviewer 

"I've purchased many albums, most I like, some I love, some I treat as a part of my own soul. This is one such album."
      - Trevor C. Krueger, Amazon reviewer 

"This is a superb album, which I really liked the first time I listened and love more and more with each play. Ange Hardy's single-handed song-writing, singing and playing tell heart-felt tales that combine power with spine-tingling beauty. What a talent. The album is characterised by gorgeous harmonies, with songs like "Mother Willow Tree", "Forlorn Land" and, especially, "White as Snow" being my personal favourites from a high-quality set. The artwork is stunning too: a wonderful fractal-like image of roots and branches becoming ever finer, which I hope to show in lectures I give on that topic."
     - Mark, Amazon reviewer 

"Bare Foot Folk is a collection of superbly crafted self-penned songs on both modern and eternal themes, performed in a traditional folk idiom. I have been captivated by Ange's atmospheric voice and the minimalist arrangements are just right to complement it. I would recommend this album to anyone who appreciates excellent authentic music as well as to folk fans."
     - R C G Bullivant, Amazon reviewer 

 "I only recently 'found' Ange Hardy and now play this album over and over again."
     - Dave, Amazon reviewer 

“I would recommend that every lover of a good song buy your album but more than that I would urge them to see you on tour and experience first hand your music.”
     - Valuks1, Amazon reviewer

"This is the first album of Ange Hardy that I have heard, after discovering her purely by accident via Twitter. I have to say I wasn't disappointed! Ange has a truly lovely, silky smooth voice, hugely complemented by her expert guitar playing. It is an album with a real traditional feel and ambience to it. It also has modern, contemporary twists with clever reference to social media in "Crafty Father John". I like the way that Ange has produced sleeve notes (with the cd version), providing an insight and understanding to the background of each track. Pure folk music need not be complicated, and Ange keeps it beautifully simple, with intelligently crafted verse. She has great stories to tell. Long may they continue!"
     - Jeff W, Amazon reviewer

“Ange Hardy has such a gift. The songs are all written by her. She has a beautiful voice and her guitar accompaniment is masterful. I love the variety, some songs are pure folk, some tell a story, some are witty with a modern twist, some are raw emotion. They are all very distinctive and memorable, I find myself humming the tunes for days, after listening to them.”
     - Liz Kilbride, Amazon reviewer

"An album to kick back and soak yourself in on a warm summer's evening, with the obligatory glass of wine of course. A relaxing and often thought-provoking collection that touches on so many shared human experiences"       
    - Rachel H, Amazon reviewer

"I recently had the immense pleasure of hearing this new album and I have to say it really is a must have for any folk music fan, and if your not a fan of folk I guarantee this album will change your mind! If you only do one thing for your self this week, trust me buy this album!"
      - Steve-Shanahan, Amazon reviewer

"This is a must in anyone's music collection! If you have the chance to see this artist perform, then please do! You will not be disappointed!"
     - Susierdc, Amazon reviewer

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