On Friday, Marblehead High School class of 2015 graduate and local folk favorite Hayley Reardon returned to the Me & Thee Coffeehouse for the first time in two years. She performed as a sophomore at Belmont University in Nashville with a new album, “Good,” which was completely funded through a Kickstarter campaign and released in October 2016. Reardon spoke about recording a fan-funded album in an interview before the show.
“That was really successful, but then there was also a lot of pressure that came with it,” she said. “Like, ‘wow, all these people are supporting my work. I better make something good.’”
Marblehead fans continue to support Reardon. On Friday, she played a sold-out show with friend Ryan Hommel, whom she met at a Folk Alliance International music conference in Memphis, Tenn. when she was 13. Hommel, who opened the show, told the audience she had played a song about the Red Sox at the conference. Reardon set the record straight.
“The song wasn’t about the Red Sox,” she said. “It was about a boy who loves the Red Sox.”
The college experience
Reardon, who has been performing since she was a preteen, continues to make good music, sometimes in spite of unfavorable circumstances. Before the show, she said that her college living environment was initially detrimental to her songwriting process.
“My first year I lived on campus and I really didn’t have much privacy. And I lived in a dorm, which was great experience-wise, but creatively it was tough,” she said. “I just wasn’t used to being around people all the time, and I’m pretty introverted.”
Some of her set reflected that experience. She performed songs about college, such as “The Longest Year,” which she called a “college diary song,” and “Half Alone,” about adjusting to the college experience.
Another song, “Julia,” was written for a class assignment about a sidekick. Reardon wrote the “slow, folky” track about her childhood friend who grew up on Jersey Street.
“Back then I thought the goal was to get grown,” she sang, “I knew something then that I’ve forgotten now.”
Another song, “Forgiveness,” was born out of boring British literature class.
“We read a lot of poems that I can’t stand,” she said. “So I wrote my own, and turned them into songs after class.”
As a student in the music program, she is conscious of how the school curriculum could affect her own style and sound.
“I’m in a commercial music program, and there’s just a way to tell a story that’s just, accessible,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t want to tell a story in a way that’s accessible.”
She spoke about following her own convictions when it comes to songwriting.
“I do study songwriting in school, so I think that, to some degree, I’ve revolted against that,” she said. “I don’t want to be told how to write a song.”
A varied set