How does a young Radio 2 Folk Awards singer find her voice? Bella Hardy has now amazingly released seven albums and,as she reminded us from the stage this evening, has just turned 30 years old. She is no longer then a "young folk" artist. Having said that, sporting a new trendy short hair cut, a sparkly top, culottes (for her Mum) and shiny new shoes, she giggled and cooed her way through the evening, and, with a predominantly "mature" audience eating out of her hand,sh e played the part of a bubbly late teens pop star well. Name checking pubs, places, even teachers, and waving to Mum (sweet) on the way, it was the perfect homecoming gig.

Or was it? Her new album, 'With the Dawn', is highly acclaimed and, surrounded by three stubble-chinned blokes on drums, keyboards and some kind of effects set up and guitar and banjo, Bella Hardy was able to charm the hind legs off a donkey. Warm applause greeted each number, and we laughed at her girlish chit chat about touring, table tennis and her new hair style.

Everything was very pleasant and restrained. The sound system was perfect, and songs about herring girls and lost love were delivered in a manner guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye. Beautifully performed with the lights dimming with precision, this was an evening of seamless delight and perfection.

I went to this gig with my friend and fellow Pennyblackmusic writer Nicky Crewe. Why then was I left trying to answer a question from Nicky about authenticity and to deal with my own sense of unease? There was not much folk on offer, a hint of Americana and bluegrass, some Radiohead-esque samples. Bella also occasional played and fingerpicks her fiddle, and the songs were easy on the ear.

Bella Hardy is obviously a lovely lady with masses of talent and a huge reputation to uphold. It must be quite a burden to carry being one of "folk" music's glamorous-contract wielding stars, I suspect. It would appear that today's modern folkie is now a globe trotting star. Perhaps at thirty Bella is on the way to finding her true voice? I wonder what Anne Briggs would make of it all.

Related Links:

Commenting On: Pavilion Arts Centre, Buxton, 26/4/2105 - Bella Hardy

ie London, England

tick box before submitting comment

First Previous Next Last