FOUR AND A HALF YEARS AGO, Hayley Reardon was a shy, quiet girl from Marblehead. She had just finished the fifth grade. Curious, she picked up an Epiphone acoustic guitar her mom had long abandoned and this 11-year-old girl began writing songs. Then she couldn’t stop. Songs poured out of her. Good songs. “It was a total shock,” says her dad, Pete, an insurance rep. “I knew right away that this was not normal.”
She got her own guitar. She played a middle school variety show and she sought out open mike nights. She found inspiration at Club Passim in Harvard Square, the legendary downstairs folk haunt that helped launch the careers of Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, and Suzanne Vega. This, she realized, was her tribe.