Beginning in the mid-seventies, Hardy hosted Monday night pasta dinners at his apartment on Houston Street, which were open to all songwriters. He also began a small, informal songwriters' group at The English Pub in Greenwich Village, which later became a more formal songwriters' night at the Cornelia Street Cafe in December 1977.
This group would later evolve into the Songwriter's Exchange, releasing an album on Stash Records in 1980. Eventually, the group formed a cooperative, led by Hardy, and in 1981 took over the booking of the "Speak Easy", which became a thriving venue for songwriters. Hardy was also the founder and first editor of Fast Folk Musical Magazine in 1982.
He frequently toured with long-time friend and fellow songwriter David Massengill as a duo called the Folk Brothers. They are pictured below at last year’s 50th reunion concert at Gerde’s Folk City.
The hundreds of songwriters who frequented Hardy's apartment gatherings or recorded first for Fast Folk over the years included Suzanne Vega, Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin, Tracy Chapman, Richard Shindell, John Gorka, Jeff Gold, Wendy Beckerman, Richard Julian, Christian Bauman, Linda Sharar, Rod MacDonald, Lucy Kaplansky, the Gregory Brothers and Christine Lavin. He was a major influence to all.
RIP, Jack Hardy.