Photo Credits: All Photos supplied by JD Hardy and Tate Music Group
The story of the Old West, with images of men larger than life, heroes of the dusty trails and cold desert nights, are still told these days. There have been many tall tales of even taller men that ride high in the saddle yet look to the heavens above for guidance. Here is a tale of one such legend, a man that towers among his peers and has songs in his throat that tell of good times and bad. A man with a six string as his weapon, he sings of the traditional values, love of his country, and of the daily survival in this world we live in. This mountain of a man I speak of is the one known as JD Hardy: no ice, no water, straight up and double down.
To do this article, I met with JD at a restaurant near his home and studio. He was there in boot cut jeans, checkered shirt and “Cowboy Hat.” He looked like he just came off the ranch, or just back from a cattle run. He waxed poetic of his life and his adventures, but was often more visibly excited to talk about others that have supported him, or taking time to stop and thank the waitress that brought our coffee with the same respect one would show a nun, and then cracked a joke the moment she left earshot that would make the devil blush. A humble and honest man that mentioned his love for the open spaces and music, JD Hardy was as authentic as Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet.
Originally from Bakersfield, California, JD Hardy grew up on country: his father was well acquainted with the country music world. JD’s father played with Buck Owens and many of his compatriots. JD followed in suit and has made a name for himself playing everywhere from the small saloons to the larger theaters, always pleasing and always working hard to keep true country music in his heart. Getting his start with the legendary producer Ray Ruff, he quickly found himself working alongside the same country artists that he grew up admiring, such as Dwight Yoakam, Hank Williams Jr. and George Strait.
Where other artists may go “commercial” or write songs with certain “marketability,” JD wants his music to be true old school country style and often looks back to his roots for inspiration. “I have been blessed to have had an interesting life, and twice blessed to survive it,” he says. “I love talking about my life, and it is the events of my life that have shaped my music and my songs. I can write songs with a rock influence, a blues feeling or jazzy parts that get people moving and loving what I do as much as I do.”
About the title track to his album “Rebels With A Cause,” JD said, “It’s a song of the America’s beginnings. We came to this country as rebels, and we came seeking a better life, a just life, to be equal and free. With the way things are now, we are a people over-ruled and over-taxed with the burden of feeling guilty to want the life we were promised by our founding fathers. It’s a song about us.” He then stopped to take a sip of coffee and added, “Not to be preachy, but seems to me, people today just want freedom to be free, Seems fair.”
To emphasize the range of his talents, I asked about another song off his album that is sorrowful yet, if you listen closely, is a story of faith and redemption. “Hello World,” is a song of a person newly released from prison. Incarcerated as a youth, he came out a man, introducing himself to world he’s never known. Like in the song, JD has opened himself up to the world, - the world that is seen through the artist’s eyes as the place of hope for anyone who wants to live their dreams. “I have made my mistakes, and there is a truth to the phrase by the grace of god go I, this is a song of lessons learned” said JD.
JD Hardy lives, works and plays in this paradise we call California, but he is humbled by the people around him. “I see people who struggle every day to survive, some seem almost invisible; they come and go and we sometimes don’t even see them. I want to see the world a better place for them and all that come after.” I, too, would like to see the world that JD wants to live in: seems like a peaceful little town on the planes, or in the valley between the hills, where the men are bold, the women are beautiful, and the sun sets on the horizon in shades of gold and amber.
JD Hardy’s latest release “Rebels With A Cause” has gained the attention of many loyal and new fans. Available on iTunes and on Amazon.com, it is selling well and getting some well-deserved recognition.
JD Hardy’s Website will soon include upcoming performance dates and engagements. With all of his accolades, he is still a “Good Old Country Boy” that keeps his appearances within the Central Coast area. JD Hardy and his Recording Label are planning a video for his song ”Ride On”, which is about Rodeo Bull Riders, with the interest of the PBR, the Professional Bull Riders organization that supports values of the rodeo athlete, it may be the big breakout hit of the album.