I acquired their recent EP, A Hard Year, on the strength of this first impression, and it does not disappoint. The four tunes sound like Wilco, The Jayhawks and Bruce Springsteen got thrown in a blender, then went and jammed with the Old 97s. Its loud, twang-less country or its pensive, evocative rock, depending on how you want to frame the question.
From the energetic opening moments of Restless Again to the last hollered hang on, baby! of the title track, this EP oozes sincerity. The theme running through the songs and culminated in A Hard Year is passion trying to break through world-weariness, and Hardy has pinned that emotion down (with sleigh bells again! Yes!).
The songs each have their own charms, but its not really essential to break them up. The whole 15 minutes sounds like one glorious number, due to the cohesive quality of Hardys sound. Thats a sign of great production, as well as great songwriting.
If you like passionate young men hollering their heads off about love, loss and staying alive through all of it, you will fall in love with Jon Hardy. Hes got an infectious swagger thats only tempered by his world-weariness, and every girl knows thats impossible not to crush on. Stephen Carradini