Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
HARDY, Jack(b John Studebaker Hardy, 23 November 1947, South Bend IN; d 11 February 2011, Manhattan of lung cancer) Folk singer and promoter who operated songwriting and recording workshops in Greenwich Village, keeping alive the neighborhood tradition. Hardy's mother is a painter; his father has been dean of students at Juilliard and president of the Aspen Music Festival. He grew up in New York City, Aspen and Durham CT. Attending the U. of Hartford, he edited a student newspoaper and was convicted of libeling President Nixon in a cartoon (the conviction was thrown out). He moved to Greenwich Village in 1973.
When the folk revival era was over late in the late 1970s, Hardy began hosting Monday night workshops in his apartment. Songwriters came from all over to perform their new songs and to critique each other's work. In the early 1980s Hardy established a performance space and began making more than a thousand recordings, distributing them with a newsletter called the Fast Folk Musical Magazine. Lyle Lovett, Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman and Shawn Colvin all made their first recordings for Fast Folk, according to the Smithsonian Institution, which holds Fast Folk's archives, and issued a 2-CD compilation on Smithsonian Folkways. Vega covered Hardy's "St. Clare" on her Songs in Red and Gray (2001).
“The whole idea was to do it fast,” he said of Fast Folk's music. “You could hear a song at an open mike or songwriters’ meeting and two weeks later it was being played on the radio in Philadelphia or Chicago. It was urgent, exciting. It was in your face.”
He wrote hundreds of songs and made more than a dozen albums on obscure labels; several were available from Amazon.com at the time of his death. Two boxed sets of his work were released in 2000. He said, “I’m undoubtedly the least famous person with a boxed set." An 8-disc set was issued in 2010 by the Korean Big Pink Music label.