Before signing a record deal as a solo artist earlier this year, Ryan Hurd was making waves a songwriter. He penned Last Turn Home for Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe’s number 1 Lonely Tonight. In 2016 Hurd released his debut solo single Love in a Bar and was further propelled into the limelight when his fiancé Maren Morris became a breakout star. Earlier this year Hurd released his self-titled EP and I took a listen as he prepares to come to the UK supporting Morris on her tour later this month.
As you would expect from someone who has been achieving plenty of success as a songwriter, the lyrics on this self-titled EP are strong and very personal. Love in a Bar is inspired by Hurd’s relationship with Morris and it has an almost euphoric feel as it bursts into a soaring chorus led by Hurd’s gravelly vocally. Hurd delivers plenty of passion and emotion in his vocal, which is the reason his voice stands out even above the tightly polished production.
The EP opens with the uptempo We Do Us, featuring Morris on backing vocals, and it shows a completely different side of Hurd’s abilities. No one trick pony, Hurd proves he’s as capable of finding his way around a beat as he is a big ballad. The rhythm feels perfect for summer, and any party, and it’s a celebration of bring in love and feeling on top of the world.
Elsewhere on the EP City Girl is a shimmering midtempo number that really allows Hurd’s voice to shine. His tone is very distinctive and you get the feeling he could easily move into rock music should he choose to in the future. The dramatic chorus marries with Hurd’s urgent vocals for one of the best tracks on this release.
The final track is Hold You Back, possibly the most traditional Country song moment included here. There’s a bluesy and soulful edge injected into the song that really suits Hurd’s voice. The vocal delivery is interesting with Hurd delivering some phrases quickly before elongating the words and showing off his vibrato on the verses.
From the 4 songs included on this self-titled EP, I would say Hurd has a bright future ahead. He’s an accomplished and talented songwriter but this EP shows he has the vocal chops to match. He’s sure to go down a storm when he plays in the UK supporting Morris and I don’t think it’ll be long until he’s back headlining his own shows.
Track list: 1. We Do Us 2. Love in a Bar 3. City Girl 4. Hold You Back Record label: Sony Music Release date: 7th April 2017