Release Date: Feb 26, 2013
Record label: Full Time Hobby
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Various ArtistsReason to Believe-The Songs of Tim Hardin(Full Time Hobby)Rating: 4 stars (out of 5) Those searching for the ultimate heartbreaking story of a musical talent destroyed by drugs will have a hard time topping the tragic life of 60s singer/songwriter Tim Hardin. Generally regarded as a folkie, Hardin’s phrasing and unusual if frequently simple sounding songs were influenced by jazz, blues and often accompanied by somewhat dated chamber styled strings. His gentle, melancholy voice and fatally beautiful compositions such as “Reason to Believe,” “Misty Roses” and “How Can We Hang On To a Dream” obscured a severely self-destructive, substance abusing personality seemingly at odds with his bittersweet, lilting approach.
Tim Hardin was a singular songwriter, rising out of the folk revival haze of the early 1960s, and his songs were both well-crafted and somehow comfortable and natural as air. He never achieved much commercial success as a recording artist, but his songs were hits for other people and remain an impressive legacy by anyone's standards. This set finds various alternative rock artists paying tribute to Hardin's muse by covering his best-known compositions, including "Reason to Believe" (Sand Band), "Red Balloon" (done here by Mark Lanegan; it is one of the highlights), "Misty Roses" (Snorri Helgason), "If I Were a Carpenter" (Smoke Fairies), "Shiloh Town" (Gavin Clark), and others.
The term “musician’s musician” may be a tad overused, but it’s fitting for the late Hardin, whose work has always been celebrated more by other performers than the broader public. Such diverse names as Johnny Cash, The Four Tops, Paul Weller, Scott Walker and Echo & The Bunnymen have all covered his songs and, if you count Reason To Believe as a double A-side with Maggie May, he has a worldwide chart-topper to his name courtesy of Rod Stewart. That most famous of his songs is tackled here by Brit alt.folkies The Sand Band, so it’s clear this tribute album isn’t awash with high-profile A-listers like those mentioned above.
A variously intimate, bold and engaging tribute compilation. Daniel Ross 2013 By all accounts, the life of Oregon songwriter Tim Hardin was one plagued by melancholy and, more crucially, a crippling double-whammy of stage fright and heroin addiction. It ended in 1980 after the latter became too much. As many newcomers to his music will discover with this occasionally outstanding collection of covers, his songs work best when playing on the frisson between the delicacy of his sentiment and the very real and troubled legacy he left behind.
Cult heroes don’t come much more tragic than folk/blues songwriter Tim Hardin. A near-magnetic draw to self-destruction? Check – Hardin was hooked on opiates for most of his life, having allegedly discovered heroin whilst serving as an advisor in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. Premature death? Check – the Eugene, Oregon-born songwriter passed away in 1980 at the age of 39, his body ravaged by years of heavy-duty substance abuse.
If Tim Hardin had the foresight to become a wilfully obscure avant-garde musical auteur rather than succumbing to his heroin addiction in 1980, we might be hailing the Oregon-born singer/songwriter as a beacon of artistic brilliance rather than belatedly attempting to draw attention to his mastery of the song craft through tribute albums thirty-odd years later. But perhaps a tribute album is most appropriate for Hardin; the man was prolifically interpreted by other musicians even during his under-appreciated lifetime. Nico, Rod Stewart, The Carpenters and, yes, Scott Walker, all adapted Hardin’s graceful, gentle songs, sculpting them in to commercially viable propositions, something Hardin was never really able to achieve.