Ange Hardy

Venue: Halsway Manor
Town: Halsway
Dates: 4/10/15

It was to be the night to end a busy day. I'd arrived in Somerset via Oxford having dropped the eldest son back to Oxford. I had been fortunate enough to arrive in time to catch Ange and the band carrying out final rehearsals so I thought I knew what to expect from the night, I was wrong, the launch of Esteesee was so much more than the sum of it's parts.

It was one of those nights that felt magical. It had everything, including a town crier. This was one of those nights that was genuinely enchanting and I was honoured not just to be there, but also to be part of it, if only in a small way.

The launch of Esteesee was about more than just an album, it was also about celebrating Samuel Taylor Coleridge, so before the main event, other organisations connected with the Coleridge Way got to explain their connection to one of Somerset's finest sons.

The album launch was part of a wider tour that would see Esteesee presented in many different venues along The Coleridge Way, in a number of different guises, occasionally as a duo, with Lukas Drink water, primarily as a trio with the addition of Steve Pledger and here with pretty much the band that recorded the album.

It was my honour to compere the night, introducing the two halves in a venue that has been described as being 'where folk meets Hogwarts.'

Coleridge gave us the phrase, 'suspension of disbelief', well no suspension was required that night, this really was that good. Similarly, he was. also a known drug addict, but the only thing he would have needed to have done to walk away on cloud nine would have been to open his ears.

Everything slotted majestically into place, the poetry, partially delivered by Watchet Town Crier, David Milton in a glorious local accent and partly by radio presenter Tamsin Rosewell, although the latter, due to illness was delivered through the recorded medium, though accompanied live.

The live environment seemed to amplify the emotion in the songs, the darker songs had a more shadowy feel, the celebratory songs somehow more joyous. This was two sets of great music delivered with a real passion and one that marks Ange Hardy as much more than a singer-songwriter in the folk medium, this was the set of a performer showcasing her considerable talent in the live arena. A night not easily forgotten by those lucky enough to be there.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the sound. Rob Swan gave Ange Hardy the stage on which to flourish and flourish she did. He also makes a mean curry, is there no end to the family talent?

Neil King

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