Rich Hardesty: Feel Good Indianapolis Music

Fusing influences as diverse as Bob Marley, the Grateful Dead, and Frank Sinatra, Rich Hardesty makes music that’s designed put a smile on your face and a happy feeling in your heart. Hardesty hails from Fortville, Indiana, a small town about 25 miles northeast of Indianapolis. Indianapolis music fans and people from all over the United States love Rich Hardesty’s mood lifting lyrics and toe tapping melodies. But Hardesty isn’t all about making people happy with simple pop songs; he likes to infuse his work with his own personal convictions and experiences, driving his fans to try and find meaning in their own lives through his music.

Rich Hardesty has released ten albums over his long career: The Best of Rich Hardesty, Party Going On, Don’t Worry Don’t Hurry, All Upset About Nothing, 1994’s Jones’n, 1995’s Coronado, 1997’s Jamaica Getaway, 1998’s Hard Boilered Alive, his 2005 eponymous album, Rich Hardesty, and another 2005 album, Ganja Plantation. He is currently working on his newest album, called Culturally Insane. On his website, Hardesty says Culturally Insane “uses the traditional Rich Hardesty flavors of folk, reggae and soul but with a lot more power and presence.” Tracks from the new album are available on Hardesty’s MySpace page.

Rich Hardesty‘s live performances are a force to be reckoned with and a popular Indianapolis attraction that keeps fans coming back. Because of his ten years of experience, he knows what makes an audience tick, what will tug at their heartstrings and what will bring them to their feet. He engages the crowd with skillful songwriting, passionate performances, trained musicianship, playful banter with the audience, and his undeniable charm.

A video of Indianapolis musician Rich Hardesty performing “Indiana Girls” at Purdue University


Rich Hardesty sometimes plays alone, but more often than not he makes use of a band of talented musicians. His current lineup has featured prominently in the creative process for Hardesty’s newest album, Culturally Insane. The band consists of Rich on lead vocals and guitar, MoeZ  (formerly of alternative rock group The Wallflowers) on the keyboard, Andy Salge on bass, Dave Sullivan on guitar, and John Gray on drums. Each member also lends his voice to backup vocals, creating a rich texture of harmonies behind Hardesty’s driving vocal.

Video of Indianapolis musician Rich Hardesty and his band performing live in Broad Ripple Village


Culturally Insane will be Rich Hardesty‘s first release in four years, but don’t think that Rich has been taking that time off. Like Indianapolis musicians Sally Anthony and Andrew Young, Rich Hardesty is a self made success story. Putting his marketing degree from Indiana University to good use, he manages his own band, sets up his own gigs, and self releases all his albums on his own label, Rich Life Entertainment. Rich Hardesty has set up a name for himself in cities in Indiana and the world over by using aggressive marketing tactics and word of mouth.

Part of Hardesty’s appeal is the respect and admiration he shows for his fans. He stays in touch with devoted followers through an online message board and MySpace, and he always responds to e-mails personally, something that’s very rare for a songwriter of Hardesty’s popularity. Through YouTube videos of his live shows, Hardesty constantly reminds his audience what a great time his performances are. He even has street teams that roam major cities, putting up fliers and spreading the news about upcoming tour dates. In short, Rich Hardesty knows how to market himself and how to reach an audience.

Video of Indianapolis musician Rich Hardesty and a friend taking a hiking trip, then settling down to play a song or two


Currently, Rich Hardesty is putting the finishing touches on Culturally Insane while embarking on a tour around Indiana, with a couple extra stops on the way. Indianapolis bars love Rich; while on the Jagermeister Tour with Pepper and Slightly Stoopid in 2006, he sold 100 bottles of the popular German liquor in one night to thirsty fans. He’s also popular at Indiana colleges; the top played jukebox song at Indiana University is a Rich Hardesty song.

On his current tour, Hardesty will be making stops in Evansville (home of the University of Southern Indiana), Bloomington, Castleton, Michigan City, Noblesville, Angola, Terre Haute (home of Indiana State University), LaPorte, Kokomo, and Fishers. In Indianapolis, Hardesty has plans to play at Bella Vita, the Moondog Tavern, and Scotty’s in downtown Indianapolis. In the past, Hardesty has played at Spin Nightclub, Joe’s Grille, Fox Pub and Grill, the Britton Tavern, Champp’s, Birdy’s Bar and Grill, and the Taste of Mass Ave (an Indianapolis festival). He has also made appearances on the Dave Smiley Morning Show on the popular Indianapolis radio station, WZPL 99.5 FM.

Video of Indianapolis musician Rich Hardesty performing at the Congress Theater in Chicago


So if you’re ever in need of a little pick me up, something to put a smile on your face or a tune in your head, pop in a Rich Hardesty CD or catch one of his infectious live performances. It’s bound to make your day just a little bit brighter.

For more information on Rich Hardesty, including upcoming tour dates, song samples, and merchandise, please visit the musician’s homepage.

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