Ryan Hurd - Pelago
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Pelago (Arista Nashville, 2021)

Ryan Hurd

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

Vince Gill is jokingly referred to as Mrs. Amy Grant. Ryan Hurd does not have the street cred to be dubbed Mr. Maren Morris just yet, but he is building up his resume. He has co-pen credits on some of the format's biggest hits from Blake Shelton's chart topper "Lonely Tonight," Lady A's "You Look Good" and Luke Bryan's "Sunrise Sunburn Sunset."

Hurd's debut," Pelago," is a relationship arc that chronicles the stages of heartbreak that rides on a sonic beachy wave that channels the likes of Kenny Chesney and even Bob MarleyThe gritty opener "Pass It On" starts with a heavy slide intro and espouses the motto "It is not what you gather but what you scatter that really matters. It is the only track with some teeth to it. The other tracks are contemporary to the core.

What is a debut country album without drinking songs? "Coast" is a beach anthem in the vein of FGL's monster hit "Cruise." Maren Morris fans can enjoy the four extra tracks on the streaming version.

There has been a lot of buzz around Hurd's outlier role in Nashville as a songwriter, but little as a performer. Hurd said, "You only get one chance to make a debut album." The clever title is a word that means open sea as well as overwhelming passion. It is indicative of the material as it is a passion project laden with radio friendly catchy songs. That said, it feels like it could use some diversity in the form of some muscular themes and raw production. You only get to make a sophomore album once. Maybe it will show a different more seasoned side of a promising artist.

CDs by Ryan Hurd

EOM EP, 2020

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