As we approach the corner of the calendar that leads into autumn, there does seem to be one dividend of living through a pandemic; there is just more and more great new music being made. Much is being released at a time that used to signal a lull in the music industry too. Perhaps what we have experienced over the past six months has given many of us space to breathe, reflect, dust-off a long prevaricated project, or polish something that has become too familiar or even tarnished. Alongside this a whole set of new problems may have emerged but it’s the creative stuff that keeps one sane in these times. For many musicians the time has been well-spent in honing their craft so that when it’s ti


Whether it’s that time-honoured artistic desire to hide behind a persona, an absence of affection for the birth name or just plain shyness, there has always been a steady number of musicians and singers who adopt a new name. From a marketing standpoint, such an appellation gives the artiste a distinctiveness that the respective birth name may lack. It may overcome pronunciation hurdles that the latter could present, or conversely just ordinariness, and so make internet searches much more likely to land on the mark. However unusual your name, you just have to look at social media profiles to realise that there are many more of you than you might expect, and if you’re John Smith, then no chanc


It wasn’t all that long ago that people used to sidle up to you and say “winter is coming” and, fully armed with the expectation that you too must be watching Games of Thrones, add a knowing wink. Yet, strike me down sergeant, it’s only August and now Christmas is coming. I have Dolly Parton’s press agent to thank for this unseasonal prompt. It transpires that Dolly is helping to lift our spirits with news of her upcoming album, A Holly Dolly Christmas, due out on 2 October. A mixture of festive standards, showbiz duets and some Dolly originals, the record was all recorded in a socially distanced fashion, and becomes her first holiday album in 30 years. Following her unforgettable Glastonbur


This rather dumb headline, channelling as it does a Star Trek misquote – I blame The Firm – heralds a rather splendid event curated by the wonderfully resourceful Cressida Ford who hosts the first hour of the Almost Acoustic Show on Radio Scarborough every week; a must-listen between bouts of hair washing. So, camping chairs, 6X and wristbands at the ready, settle down at 7pm this Thursday evening and tune into Radio Scarborough to enjoy the official Virtual Cropredy. Fairport's Cropredy Convention might have rolled over to 2021 but there is no need to go folk-free this summer. You can still meet on the web (a point for Gryffindor there if you get the link to Fairport’s second album). Ahead


Local lockdowns and concerns about a second wave of coronavirus have scuppered plans to slowly reintroduce live music in front of physical audiences. Last month Live Nation cancelled its innovative drive-in tours planned for the UK and while a few socially-distanced gigs may still be on the summer calendar, each day brings news of such events being struck off. Over in the States, The Chainsmokers hosted what became a stand-in rather than a drive-in event in The Hamptons which drew such criticism for the crowd’s lack of spatial awareness that it is likely to have set the case for live music back even further. If you are in or close to a big city the problem used to be: which show do I go to?

FIFTY3 champions

outstanding contemporary music through news, album and live reviews, features and interviews. 


Music is a great passion of mine. In my teenage years I was an avid record collector and concert goer. Stints as a booking agent, running folk clubs, promoting gigs and even a crack at artiste management followed. While it never became my main occupation, music was always on my personal radar.


During the past 10 years I have written for the leading US music website Consequence of Sound and breakthrough act site, BestNewBands. I am a judge for Glastonbury Festival's Emerging Talent Competition and have reviewed the festival for both the above sites.


Nothing gives me more pleasure than unearthing good, original new music and championing independent musicians. You’ll find many of them on this site alongside some legends of times past and I hope they will bring  you as much joy as they give me.

Tony Hardy



Covid-19 has rather put paid to them but may I commend:

Mondays at 8pm: Cressida Ford's Almost Acoustic Show on Radio Scarborough


Wednesdays at 6pm: Hattie Briggs - live stream on FB & Insta


Daily on Twitter: Tim Burgess' Listening Party

Anytime for great live sets: KEXP's YouTube channel Kingston store may be physically closed but please support online. Check out live streaming shows too!

  • Twitter B&W
  • Spotify Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon

© 2020 by Fifty3. Proudly created with

  • Facebook B&W
  • Twitter B&W
  • Instagram B&W