|Heather Hardy – I Believe (2000)|
Heather Hardy – I Believe
Location: Westport, CT ~ Tucson, Arizona, USA
Album release: 2000 / July 2, 2003
Record Label: Self produced
Genre: Blues / Rock / Roots Music
01. Chi Chi – 3:09
02. I Believe – 5:22
03. Gotta Love You Better – 4:40
04. Oh Blues – 6:02
05. Pipe Dream – 5:31
06. Physical Thing – 3:10
07. Jacob’s Song – 5:44
08. Reach Out – 4:34
09. Why? – 7:32
10. Traffic Violation – 4:13
Heather 'Lil' Mama' HARDY - Violins, Vocals
Hiromasa Suzuki - Guitars
Donia Oxford - Keyboards
Sam Taylor - Vocals
Michael P. Nordberg - Bass
Clayton Craddock, Mario Staiano, Darren Lyons - Drums
CD BABY: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/heatherlilmamahardy
Heather Hardy born May 22, 1965, Westport, CT
Heather "Lil'Mama Hardy" began studying piano at the age of six and in the fourth grade started taking violin lessons. In high school, she studied violin with Richard Errante, a student of renowned teacher Rafael Bronstein. At the Manhattan School of Music, she studied with Bronstein himself.
Heather next applied her talent in Greenwich Village, playing on the streets and in the subways. When classical training and precision collided head-on with improvisational, self-taught musicians, her unique style took root.
Moving to Tucson in 1992, she joined the Sam Taylor Band, originally as a featured violin soloist, but soon becoming a vocalist as well.
Juxtaposing violin whispers with tasty, slamming wah wah captivated audiences and helped the band win the 1995 Arizona Blues Showdown. That was followed by taking second place in the International Blues Talent Competition in Memphis and a European tour. By 1997, Heather had formed her Lil'Mama band, taking it to New York in 1998.
John Mayall considers her "absolutely brilliant". Her first solo CD, "Violins", was followed in 2000 by "I Believe". Heather has also been a featured guest on dozens of other recordings, including Arizonans Sam Taylor, Lisa Otey, Gerry Glombecki and Stefan George.
'...A blues violinist? Are you kidding? Sure, I was a bit skeptical at first. After all, everyone knows the more traditional instruments of the blues, but a violin? We're not talking about a jazz player with an inkling to play the blues. Heather Hardy
is a full- blown, card carrying 'Blues Mama', with strong blues ties, who creates some of the most fascinating and deeply moving blues around. All accomplished with her violin! She plays her violin much like a guitar, bending and twisting notes with bow and strings like a demon unleashed, licks cascading like a frothing waterfall. Amazing!
Heather may be small in stature but she stands tall in the grand spirit of the Blues. Heather believes in herself, taking the male dominated blues world by storm using her exhilarating talents of voice and violin, her nerve, and her insurmountable courage to succeed. She is an artist of vision and insight.
On board is long time associate Sam Taylor, a 65-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist. Sam wrote track 'Physical Thing', and contributed his gritty, expressive vocals to the mix. Donã Oxford, a friend, and Shemekia Copeland's keyboard player, who also fronts her own very popular band, provides her trademark keyboard sound to this impressive CD. From the all-out instrumental 'Chi Chi' to the last cut, 'Traffic Violation', we have a truly unique musical mix with a refreshingly new sound. Something new, something surprising, that plays well over time-tested grooves. With her band on board to help guide her, and friends playing to support her, Heather Hardy just ignites the blues and explodes any preconceived perceptions about what is supposed to be 'the Blues'. Stand back and let her rip! 'I BELIEVE' is a stunning and impressionable showcase for a talented 'Blues Violinist' who is also a powerful vocalist, bandleader, and a female who is determined to redefine the music around her. The songwriting, arrangements, and all of the players' musical talents are all first rate. I, too 'Believe'!....
Just Who Is Heather Hardy?
Written by Don R. Martin , Jodi B. Darling on Friday, 23 September 2011. Posted in Tucson Music Scene
She once played a secret concert in communist East Germany before the Berlin Wall fell and is in the Blues Hall of Fame. In her younger years she played in the NYC subway for tips and has toured Europe several times. She was trained as a classical symphony pianist and violinist at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, but now plays blues and jazz. She has worked with the likes of Allen Ginsberg and the legendary Sam “Bluzman” Taylor. She won the 2011 TAMMIE for best string musician in Tucson. Many musicians would kill for a shot at some of those things. So who is this interesting person? She is Heather Hardy, and she lives and performs right here in Tucson!
Reading Heather's bio it seems to be a chronology of taking musical risks. Playing in a communist country during the cold war was certainly a risk. Switching from a classically trained symphony musician to a jazz/blues artist is a risk. Playing with some of the “best of the best” in the music world is a risk. The list goes on…
So let's briefly hit the highlights first. She has been playing live music in Tucson since 1991. She calls her music soul/blues. She says she plays “lots” of clubs and bars as well as festivals. A little unusual, she also plays prisons and rehab centers. She says she does this because “I love to bring music into settings that have none. I believe there should always be some kind of music in our environment. ”
Heather was born in New Rochelle, NY, but her family quickly moved to Westport, CT. Her father was a medical illustrator, and her mother a teacher. The family had a great appreciation for the musical arts, and at age six Heather took up the piano. She says she immediately fell in love with it, but there was more, she fell in love with creating and performing music.
In 4th grade, the school she attended offered every student the opportunity to study a string instrument. Heather really wanted to play the cello, but it was too heavy for a small girl to carry around. Her family convinced her to study the violin. She says she absolutely fell in love with it, and with the idea of playing in a symphony setting. She was selected for the All-State Orchestra and the Norwalk Youth Symphony and played with them during Jr. High and High School. In High School she had the honor to be selected for the American Youth Symphony and did her first European tour with them.
After High School she applied to the Manhattan School of Music. She auditioned on both piano and violin, and was accepted on both but was told she had to pick one as her major. At first it was the piano, and she studied under Walter Hautzig for a year. She did some soul-searching and realized a piano was fine for a symphony, but it wasn't exactly portable. Heather says she is a gypsy at heart, and needed something she could easily carry. She decided a violin was something you could play with the symphony, as well as for informal small groups on the road. She switched her major to violin, and studied for another two years under Raphael Bronstein, who she calls “incredible. ”
After the MSM she started playing the subways and local parks, mostly for tips. She says this was a great opportunity to meet other musicians, learn from them, and develop her style. By this time she had switched from classical music to blues/jazz. One day, playing in Washington Square Park, she got “noticed. ” She was asked to join the False Prophets who recorded on the Alternative Tentacles label. They were fairly well known, especially in Europe. She joined them, and they toured Europe, Canada, and the US.
Heather talks a bit about the transition from a symphony-trained violinist/pianist to a blues/jazz performer. “I changed direction musically, in 1984. I really always loved jazz and blues and I wanted to be able to improvise. But that transition for a classical violinist is very difficult. For me it was a lot about loosening up and letting go, and allowing the music to come through me rather than from me. ” She continues, “I feel as though the violin is an extension of myself at this point, I don't look at it as something I like for better or worse. It’s like breathing. ”
As for her singing, she credits Sam Taylor. “Singing was a gift given to me by the late great Sam Taylor. I had always enjoyed singing, but I never even entertained the thought of being a lead singer. I worked with Sam for 20 years. And from learning to sing harmonies next to him he endlessly encouraged me to find my voice. I love it and am so grateful he encouraged me. I am still always striving to improve. ”
Heather continues, “This leads me to the question of who influenced me most. Well, without a doubt that would be Sam Taylor. First of all, there was no artist before, during, or after Sam's life that rivaled what he did. And when you went to see Sam, or played with Sam, you were in the Church of the Blues. Such a great band leader, such an incredible showman, and his voice and guitar playing moved me to chills and tears nightly. “I also feel that being in the presence of such a great songwriter and truly getting to see his artistic process opened my mind and heart to the possibilities of what I could do as a writer and performer. He was also my very best friend and on so many levels he made me a better artist and human being. ”
I always like to ask musicians about the largest and smallest crowds they have played to. I am interested in the answer to the small crowd question, you can learn some things there. Are they only in it for money (large crowd) or because they enjoy interacting with their audience (small crowd)?
Heather nailed this one perfectly. For the record, the largest crowd she has played to is “well over 5000” at a concert in Poland, with the False Prophets on a European tour. The smallest was only a few people at the Mint, here in Tucson. About this she says, “But it’s one of my favorite gigs. If it's only a small crowd, but they love music, then it's everything I need. And most of the time we have a great group that comes to hear the music and a great group of regulars and staff that also love music. I love playing there!” As a fan of live music that's exactly what I want to hear!
What does Heather get out of playing live? She puts it this way. “When I play a show, I always receive a great healing. Of course, the act of playing creates that. And the experience of collaborating with other artists (my band) is empowering. But at the shows the greatest power to me is in seeing the audience and feeling them have a cathartic experience. Whether they need to escape, or whether they find comfort, or just dance their cares away, it is contagious and I always feel that I receive way more than I could ever give. Those moments of creating community give my life purpose. ”
Heather is passionate about supporting the Amity Foundation. Amity is a nonprofit which helps people with substance abuse problems. Their latest project is Dragonfly Village, which will include a complete resource center for children in families having problems with substance abuse issues.
Heather's website is: www.heatherlilmamahardy.com. There you can keep up to date on her tour schedule, see some live video, or download music.
The musicians Heather currently plays with are: Ed Delucia (guitar), Larry Lee Lerma (bass), Ralph Gilmore (drums), Sabra Faulk (vocals), and Don Nottingham (vocals). Fortaken: http://bscenelive.com/tucson-music-scene-weekly/item/just-who-is-heather-hardy?category_id=2
Author: Don R. Martin
|Heather Hardy – I Believe (2000)|