Robert Earl Hardy has been a professional writer for twenty-five years, with articles on twentieth century American music and the arts published in newspapers, journals, and magazines, most recently in The Oxford American. Also a musician, since the 1970s, Mr. Hardy has played guitar in rock & roll, rhythm & blues, and honky-tonk bands in the Washington, DC, area. He lives in Laurel, Maryland.
Writer and musician Hardy offers the second recent biography of the uncompromising Texas singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt (1944-97), following John Kruth's 2007 To Live's To Fly. Both books examine similar terrain in Van Zandt's personal history, music, and the demons that plagued him throughout his life. In this extensively researched and footnoted book, Hardy states that Van Zandt's "craft was inextricable from his life," and he is particularly adept at setting the context of Van Zandt's life within the musical scenes in which he lived and worked, all the while illustrating the intersection of his personal life and the creative process. Like Kruth, Hardy interviewed many of those who were close to Van Zandt, but Hardy's writing is more streamlined, and his reliance on narrative creates a smoother flow. Smaller libraries that own To Live's To Fly may not need both titles, but Hardy's is certainly recommended for libraries with strong popular culture collections and especially those without material on the legendary Van Zandt.-Jim Collins, Morristown-Morris Twp. P.L., NJ Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.