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Posted by Briana Hardyman on April 5, 2011

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Last night we completed our third challenge to write children themed songs based on classic books.  Mine was based on Winnie the Pooh, which was a joy to write.  There are so many life parables in children’s novels.  I was moved and impressed by the other artists…it’s such a treat to be in this creative environment.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to play one of my favorite venues.  It’s a neat supper club called “Beaches” in Lena, IL.  It’s run by a couple, Mike and Anita.  It’s a favorite of mine because I leave there every time feeling ten feet taller.  The appreciation the owners and audience show is incredible.  That heartfelt support reminds me a lot of the first real gig I ever got in TN at a place called “Megabites”.  Megabites is a supper club/tavern about 2 hours east of Nashville in a town called Crossville.  The couple that own the club, Dan and Wanetta, became my biggest supporters throughout my time in Tennessee.  They are the kind of people who believe in you so much you almost don’t have a choice but to start believing in yourself.  Whenever I start to look back upon my musical journey it’s clear to me that the greatest treasures have come in the form of wonderful people along the way.

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Posted by Briana Hardyman on March 29, 2011

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Last night was another awesome experience for me.  Once again I left with a ton of gratitude for the talent I’m surrounded by as well as the intent, constructive, and encouraging ears of  Jonathan, Pat, and Jimmie:)  It’s just so enlightening to be surrounded by the new work of talented songwriters and of course the wise ears of experienced music professionals.  And, on top of that…I recieved an unexpected gift last night.  Jonathan informed me of the origin of one of my all time favorite songs “Angel From Montgomery”.  It turns out that the reference stems from the Montgomery Ward building in Chicago where John Prine was a postman.  Thank you Jonathan for giving me more insight on one of my audio gems:) 

And, to top it off, Ryan and Jason sang the song for sound check.  I enjoyed that immensely:)  I almost always sing that song during sound check (as Doug Sies, my guitarist well knows!)… The thing that made me fall in love with that song is a single line that hit me like no music before ever had.  You know how you hear songs and every once in a great while something will go through you and hit you where you live?  The particular words in this song are “Just give me one thing I can hold onto” .  I don’t know what it is, but John Prine has a way of turning simple words and pictures into monumental statements.  For instance, in the song “The Sound of the Speed of Loneliness” there is a line “Out there running just to be on the run”…my goodness, I’m bubbling up with joy and a plethora of other emotions at how simple yet provoking that line is.  Though I fear I may be rambling, I’ll mention one more song for Doug Sies and Mark Croft (who informed me last night he’s also a Bruce Cockburn fan).  The song ”Pacing the Cage” by Bruce Cockburn has several lines like this.  Doug is struck by the line “Sometimes the road leads through dark places…Sometimes the darkness is your friend”.  So thank you to songwriters for giving us those timeless treasures:)

Thank you again to the the Project M team for creating such a great environment to create and perform:)  And thank you for reading yet another ramble:)

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Posted by Briana Hardyman on March 22, 2011

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I just got home after our first performances.  I had such a great time listening to wonderful new material and hearing valuable insight from the judges.  I actually find it to be a treat to have people take the time to delve into lyrics and listen so intently to my work.  I’ve come to really find one of the greatest gifts others can offer me is their time, ears, and sincere reaction to their experience.  I also had the pleasure of sharing in the new work of so many other wonderful people and artists.  I’m really enjoying getting know the other contestants as well as the entire Project M team.  Everyone has been so kind…a little bit of kindness means a great deal.

I also just checked my blog and saw that I had two responses from people that are very special to me.  The first was from the Pollays, who I’ve come to know through my work with Girls’ and Ladies’ Rock Camps.  Halle Pollay is the organizer of those camps and is one of the coolest, sweetest people I’ve met.  Her daughter Sarah (who loves music and has been blessed with a creative soul) is simply a light of joy and excitement for the arts.  It’s amazing the positive people that come together in support of music.

The next response was from my Aunt and Uncle in my hometown of Darlington.  I had one of my most humbling moments the other day when my aunt Danielle called me to ask me if I would sing for my young cousin Hunter’s music class for school music month.  To mean something to a kid is probably one of the greatest achievements out there.

I don’t want to ramble on too much, so I’ll close with the music I’ve got running through me right now after an awesome conversation with Triple M’s Jessica Seeland.  She asked me if I was a Dolly Parton fan and I about fell out of my seat when she told me that one of her favorite songs is “Coat of Many Colors”.  That is a song that could make me cry at any given moment…mainly because I just love it so darn much!!!  I love so many different styles and genres…motown, blues, oldies, soul, rock, folk, but I have to admit my favorite version of country music is traditional country.  I guess when I listen to traditional country music I feel like I’m not only hearing someone pour their raw emotion over a classic melody, but also getting a visual and emotion evoking snap shot. I got a lot of that when I performed at a steel guitar show this weekend in Wisconsin Rapids with my band mate Kyle Scott.  There was a lot of amazing traditional country music in the air, but Kyle threw a twist on the event when he asked me to perform Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” with him.  The audience seemed to really appreciate having a soul song as part of their experience.  And hearing those steel bends in something other than country is so striking and beautiful.  So thank you Kyle and steel guitar players.  And thank you Jessica for the Dolly reminder:) And THANK YOU Triple M for a night that warmed my ears and heart.

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Posted by Briana Hardyman on March 16, 2011

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I’m Briana Hardyman and I’m feeling very thankful for the good fortune of being a part of this show.  I’m about 50% Irish, so maybe it’s a good time of year for me?  

A bit more about me…I’m a native Wisconsin farm girl.  I’m currently a full-time performing artist in and around Madison.  I also periodically tour the UK.  I’ve included a video performance from my 2010 UK festival tour.  I moved to Madison about a year ago after spending nearly four years in Nashville.  Much of my growth and perspective evolved through the challenges and experiences I encountered in Tennessee, therefore Nashville has a special place in my heart.  It’s my other home:)

I play regularly and you can find my performance schedule at www.myspace.com/brianalynnhardyman

If you get a chance to come out and hear me, you’ll also get to meet my amazing loyal band mates.  Doug Sies has been my right hand man (guitar, harmonica, engineer, co-writer) for nearly two years.  Mark Gruenenfelder (bassist, harmony singer) has put up with my musical antics since I was very young.  He’s actually my relative, so he’s somewhat obligated to love me.  We often perform as that trio, but also do full band shows.  This year we will be at The Star Spangled Celebration in Richland Center on June 24th.  We’re very excited about this show!  Our band will round out with Jim Smith, an outstanding drummer and inspiring human being and Kyle Scott, a steel guitar player who sounds like a legend. 

Thank you for taking the time to read a bit more about me.  I look forward to this journey:)

Happy St. Pat’s to Everyone!!  CHECK OUT THE VIDEO BELOW:)

Cambridge Folk Festival

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