Album review: BELLA HARDY – Love Songs

BELLA HARDY - Love Songs

Noe Records [Release date 08.07.22]

Recorded over just three days, ‘Love Songs‘ is Bella Hardy‘s tenth solo album. The album features seven traditional numbers with four self-penned originals, all loosely based on the album title. She is joined by Mike Vass on guitars & production and Tom Gibbs on piano and clarinet.

One thing that stands out on the album is the pin drop production by Mike Vass. Vass is one of the best producers around in folk & traditional musical circles for getting the sound of vocals and instruments just right. Take for instance the clarinet on ‘The Navigator’s Bride’. Clear as a bell yet never taking over the song or detracting from Hardy’s singing. The song itself is based on the history of the Irish navvies who arrived in Edale in the Peak District in October 1888 to start work building the Cowburn railway tunnel. Sung from the view of a shepherd’s daughter who ignores the village snobs and hypocrites who say the navvies are trouble, sets her heart on marrying her new sweetheart. Sadly the song ends with a cave-in and “men buried down below”.

Hardy does a lively version of ‘My Johnny Was A Shoemaker’, a traditional tune she heard done by Steeleye Span and it is their version on which her version is based. ‘Awake Awake’ soothes the soul, whilst the a capella ‘Lowlands Away’ shows what a wonderfully melodic and emotive vocal Bella Hardy has.

A stunning collection of songs sung by the soothing tones of Bella Hardy. One that has appeal outside of the folk and singer songwriter genres. ***1/2

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