Andrew Hardin,
The Best of Andrew Hardin
(self-produced, 2002)

Andrew Hardin blends together tracks from his CDs into The Best of Andrew Hardin. Over half the tracks are instrumentals that demonstrate Hardin's versatility and range.

The first six tracks feature Hardin on acoustic guitar and accompanying his long time friend Tom Russell in a live performance. The camaraderie between the two is clear as they belt out Hardin's "Drivin' Nails in My Coffin" or "Gallo del Cielo," a song about a man and his fighting rooster that captures the imagination and paints vivid pictures. Russell is a dynamic and boisterous performer with a sharp wit and a raucous sense of humor.

The remaining tracks are all instrumental, on which Hardin plays acoustic and electric guitars, tiple, ukulele, bass drums and percussion. The previous tracks shared with Russell are great, but these are outstanding. The mix is about as perfect as you can get it, and the tones are pure and clear and true.

Hardin ranges from bluegrass to folk to jazz to rock and hits everything in between on the way. There are no human vocals; the guitars sing it all, whether the wistful melody of "Coney Island Moon," the jazzy "Aquamarine" or the rock 'n' roll of "Ouachita Lineman."

This sampler has left me with a covetous desire to own all of Andrew Hardin's albums (as well as Tom Russell's albums) although my bank account is forcing me to wait. See if this doesn't do the same for you.

- Rambles
written by Donna Scanlon
published 25 April 2004