HomeEntertainmentMusicCountry MusicHARDY Breaks the Mold with His New Half-Country, Half-Rock Album ‘The Mockingbird and the Crow’

HARDY Breaks the Mold with His New Half-Country, Half-Rock Album ‘The Mockingbird and the Crow’

by Clayton Edwards
HARDY attends the 2022 CMA Awards
(Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

Seeing a country artist mix a little rock and roll into their music. Artists have been doing it for decades. The Eagles, The Band, Charlie Daniels Band, and countless others have struck gold with country-rock. At the same time, it’s not unheard of for a typically country artist to step outside of the genre. For instance, Cody Jinks put together a metal band called Caned by Nod to put out None the Wiser in 2021. However, HARDY did something a completely different with his latest album The Mockingbird & the Crow.

The Mockingbird & the Crow is, in my opinion, the best thing I’ve made so far,” HARDY said of the album when he announced it back in October. “I had a lot of time to get in the weeds making this record with some of my favorite people in Nashville, and it truly captures every part of who I am as an artist.”

Released today, the 17-track double album is split down the middle. The first eight tracks are pretty much what you would expect from a HARDY album. It’s well-written modern country music with a bit of an edge. It also features guest appearances from Lainey Wilson and Morgan Wallen. Like I said, exactly what you’d expect. However, things change at the halfway mark with the album’s title track.

About two-and-a-half minutes into the five-minute “the mockingbird & THE CROW” HARDY slips into something that sounds like late 90s rock. For the rest of the album, he takes his listeners on a hard-driving head-banging rollercoaster.

HARDY Delivers Rock with Country Lyrics

The interesting thing about the latter half of HARDY’s new album is that he keeps his country roots on display. The songs touch on subject matter like hunting, heartache, the Nashville machine, drinking, and more. So, it features lyrical themes that the songwriter-turned-performer’s fans are primed to hear. Sonically, though, the last eight songs on the album will take many listeners off guard.

HARDY doesn’t limit himself to a single style of rock here. Throughout the tracks, you’ll hear riffs and arrangements that harken back to bands like Staind, Incubus, Blink 182, Creed, and other pillars of late 90s and early 00s rock radio. At times, he ventures into Nu Metal territory but never goes as heavy as subgenre standard-bearers like Slipknot, Mudvayne, or Korn.

Even if you don’t like the new sound he delved into, you have to respect the guts it took to take such a big risk. After HARDY’s debut A ROCK and his Hixtape releases, many listeners will be expecting more of that sound. They’ll get it, and so much more with his sophomore effort. Time will tell how the fans feel about the sonic shift.

HARDY isn’t worried about his heavier side shocking his fans. Instead, that’s what he’s going for. “I would love for people to be as taken aback as possible,” he told Spin Magazine about his expectations for the new album. “I would love for people to be taken on an emotional rollercoaster.”