Hardy’s “A Rock” Is An Extremely Underrated Display Of Songwriting

I’m not ashamed to admit it: I’m a big Hardy fan.

Yes, some people get turned away by the capital letters and love of aggressively “I’m countrier than you” songs, but when you give them a real listen, he’s a quality lyricist with a unique voice that fits well in the rock/country style.

The announcement of Hixtape: Vol. 2 and nomination for CMA New Artist Of The Year got me thinking about his 2020 Album A Rock and how overlooked some of the songs are.

And by far the most underappreciated song on the project was the title track, “A Rock.”

Hardy takes you through the journey of life, from kid, to teenager, to adult, to death, using the consistency of a rock in all it’s possible definitions. It’s really a beautifully written song that will make you stop and think about your life to this point and where it goes from here.

“Then the wheels on your bike turn to gasoline
Get your first taste of love and nicotine
Your heart gets broke, your folks find your lighter
You lose a few fights and learn you ain’t a fighter
You know what’s wrong and you know what’s right
But you wanna be cool on a Friday night
Somebody puts a bottle in front of your face
For the first time you’re stuck between a hard place and a rock.”

Man, this one gets me every time.

I’m a big fan, but also, I hope more people can appreciate what he’s bringing to mainstream country: An authentic character, singing super well-written songs, with a bit of an edge.

And there’s more where that came from. The lead single from A Rock (and his first number one), titled “One Beer,” was actually inspired by John Prine’s “Six O’Clock News. At first glance you think it just might be another country song about drinking, but it actually tackles the extremely tough topic of teenage pregnancy:

“There’s a John Prine song, I’m a huge fan of John Prine, and it’s called “Six O’Clock News” and it’s about this kid who grew up not knowing who his dad was.

And it’s basically this amazing craft of writing where the verse is all these details about this kid and his struggles through life without knowing his dad.

I’ve been a fan of that song for so long that it really inspired me try and do something like that myself.”

So yeah, while I’m excited for some of the songs that are coming on the new Hixtape Vol. 2, I’m really excited for whenever a new HARDY solo album will be coming.

Since I’m a sucker for anything acoustic, here’s him playing is at Ram Jam Sessions for Sirus XM.

And of course, the album version.

A beer bottle on a dock

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A beer bottle on a dock