“I was grown in backyards under lines of clothes. Linen sheets in long rows, I thought were ghosts.”
I’m really not sure how this pone slipped through the cracks. Mainly because I have been listening to the album for nearly two months and simply love it. More than that, it just may be the best ‘folk’ album I have heard this year. Maybe the best pop album too. Maybe even the best pop-jazz album or best Americana album. But, I do have a sneaking suspicion how it managed not to find its way to these pages, and that secret is to be found in those first few sentences. Have you guessed?
It’s that it simply can’t be categorized. Maybe it reminds me of another artists, and I am far from the first reviewer to draw the comparison, who it took the media three or four years to categorize – and then they still couldn’t get it right - Joni Mitchell. Ms. Hurd has that same amazing range, even if it is shifted on the scale, it is remarkable for any vocalist, that range. What’s more, her song writing well would appear to be just as deep. Not to mention the craft itself. Its poetry meets music, its grace meets fire. Its vulnerability delivering a slap in the face with the only weapon it owns; talent, a piano – an a ukulele, mention of removes the intellectual pretentiousness of the rest of this article….or does it? – a voice that can do everything but run for office, and a piano that cooks just right…which isn’t always to be expected from people that graduated from culinary school, as Hurd did.
To be fair, she did graduate with a BA in Music Business from Columbia College in Chicago. She counts among her influences, Lyle Lovett, John Prine and Bonnie Raitt, not Julia Child or Justin Wilson. She also counts Hoagie Carmichael, Kris Kristofferson, and Scott Joplin as among those who influenced her muse. The record features an all-star line-up of Chicago musicians: John Abbey (Robbie Fulks, Amy Speace), Darren Garvey (Cameron McGill and What Army, Miles Nielsen), Sue Demel (Sons of the Never Wrong, Come Sunday), and Maria McCullough (Sleepy Lou, Jonas Friddle).
Hurd presents, not for your listening pleasure, but for your heart and souls pleasure, and it may even be a type of brain surgery – think of it as a total body make-over, with ear buds optional – on this, her eigthth studio album, 10 tracks of poetry that run the gambit from Joni Mitchell-like contemplation ( the title track, “Irreparably Yours” and “Easy Call”) to Paul Simon-ized word play (“Silent Conversation”) to almost country (“I Won’t Tell A Soul”, “Brand New”).
If you haven’t bought the album yet, well then, there is no hope for you unless you got fixated on the Ukulele mention above. In which case, you’ll want to catch her on tour this summer. Here’s the dates:
Songwriters In The Round - 3 pm
701 S. Madison Bay City MI 48708 US [map]
w/ Bob Marshall and Scott Baker
Charlotte's Web Celebrates 40 years - 5 pm
415 N Church St Rockford IL 61101 US 815-964-9713 [map]
For dates in August and beyond, please, please check her site.