Country Music and I have a love/hate relationship. I truly enjoy the genre, but I find that there is a lot of country music that I just can’t relate to, therefore I don’t listen to the genre as often as I would like. That said, I can listen to Achy Breaky Heart anytime and I sincerely encourage you all to take a listen to Some Gave All as the debut album from Billy Ray Cyrus is extremely good. I feel the music we are hearing from Ryan Hurd is as revolutionary as that which Cyrus introduced in the early 90s. Hurd obviously has a different sound and technique, but he is revolutionising what country music is by combining more recording and production elements from the breadth of country, rock, and pop music. I don’t necessarily want to say that Hurd is making accessible country music, but his musical style will certainly appeal to a mainstream audience.
While Hurd’s debut album has yet to be released, he has released four incredible singles that I have been playing continuously. If these songs are any indication of the quality we can expect on the album, then I have no doubt that Ryan Hurd will be the next great country music star. After all, he has already penned music for Jake Owen, Tim McGraw, and many others including a No.1 hit duet, Lonely Tonight, recorded by Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe.
Hold You Back has a hypnotic beat that is immediately addictive. It is easy to sing-a-long to as your body sways uncontrollably from side to side. However, the most compelling aspect is the forward presentation of Hurd’s vocal track. Actually, his vocal is prominent in all the songs currently released, ensuring it doesn’t get lost in the instrumental accompaniment. While this technique is common in country music, I feel that modern recording techniques have lessened vocal presentation due to their overly compressed nature. That all said, I absolutely adore the electric guitar solo in this song. It blends in perfectly and isn’t too long.
City Girl is country music intertwined with soft rock and pop. It is exceptional! I particularly enjoy the variances in vocal pace throughout the song. I could honestly listen to Hurd’s vocal performance all day; he is an exceptional vocalist.
Love In A Bar is an atmospheric song that gradually introduces musical elements as the song progresses. Personally, I love music that starts simply and becomes more involved as it takes the listener on a sonic journey. A gorgeous guitar solo makes another appearance in this song and is similarly well restrained.
We Do Us is really upbeat and while unmistakably country, it is pop-driven country music that will appeal to a larger audience. We Do Us is, in my opinion, the weakest of the first four singles that Hurd has released, specifically in highlighting the musical talents of his vocal performance. That said, his vocal presentation is perfect for this style of song.
Ryan Hurd is an exceptionally talented country music performer that is also capable of diversification. I can’t wait to hear his debut album. Until then, I will have to be content with the four singles, and three music videos, provided by TIDAL Hi-Fi. The soundstage of these performances is wide and welcoming, with little to no dynamic range compression. The sound is most certainly country, but limiting it to this genre would be a mistake as Hurd offers a style of music that would be perfect at any country music festival, as well as any big city stadium.
Seriously, add Ryan Hurd to your music library. You won’t regret it!