John Studebaker Hardy was a central figure, something of a guru actually, on the New York folk scene. He founded Fast Folk Magazine and the Songwriters' Exchange workshops, and inspired a generation of post-Dylan folkies to write about more than just themselves.
I profiled Hardy in a February 1999 issue of the Riverfront Times: "a more literate Celtic Townes Van Zandt, grave in his tone and generous in his ideals, as rooted in the present soil and sky of Ireland and America as he is fascinated by the legends of the past."
His output is vast, beginning with a classic self-titled album in 1971, and gathered, in part, on a mammoth box set called The Collected Works of Jack Hardy. I had the pleasure of reviewing the 2000 album, Omens, for Amazon.com:
"For his first new release since 1997's Celtic-flavored The Passing, Hardy turns his attention to nonchalant, Americana-ready folk rock and a high-brow library full of poetic images. 'I ought to know great literature by heart,' Hardy sings on the opening track, but his reading comprehension is hardly wanting. Hardy's dense, mysterious conjurings of Irish mythology won't be to every listener's taste, though his love songs, with fragrant lines like 'the willow weeps although unheard' and ''round this old house the wind it whines / with a knocking keeping time,' are as vivid and intense as any being written today."
Hardy visited KDHX 3 years ago for a session with Songwriters Showcase. Stream the in-studio set (with a revealing interview) above or on the Live at KDHX page, see Sara Finke's photos here and raise a toast to one of the very best.