Jim Hurst
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Jim Hurst

Glasgow, Kentucky, United States | SELF

Glasgow, Kentucky, United States | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic


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"A Box Of Chocolates (self)"

A Box Of Chocolates (self)

A multiple-IBMA award winner and long time member of Claire Lynch’s touring band, Jim Hurst is one of the most versatile acoustic guitar players on the contemporary bluegrass circuit. Hurst augments his flatpicking with hints of Merle Travis, and Jerry Reed, bending and sliding until his notes take on an almost vocal quality.

As the title implies, A Box Of Chocolates is a sampler, the perfect showcase for Hurst’s versatility. There’s newgrass (“Chocolate Chaise Lounge”), gypsy swing (“Mando Bounce”), and swampy funk (“C5 A La Mode”). In addition to those solid originals, Hurst scats his way through “Nine Pound Hammer” and shows delicate restraint on the traditional “Mary Of The Wild Moor”.

Hurst’s list of guests is long and impressive – Sam Bush, Mark Schatz, Scott Vestal, Michael Cleveland, Viktor Krauss – and that barely scratches the surface.

Still, the most powerful moments on this album simply involve Hurst alone with his guitar.

David Baxter
- No Depression

"Jim Hurst - Open Window"

Jim Hurst has one of those highly distinctive voices that has the ability to captivate an intimate audience as readily as a large concert hall. Full of clarity and punch, his superb vocal abilities and grand delivery are a winning combination that ought to make him a star. Just as such country artists as George Strait or Randy Travis are quickly recognized within their first few notes, such is the case with Hurst; when you hear him sing, you’re going to sit up and
take notice if you haven’t already.

For several years, he toured and recorded with Grammy-nominated Claire Lynch and the Front Porch String Band and now partners on the road with IBMA Bass Player of the Year and ex-Lynch bandmate
Missy Raines. Hurst has a full, rich voice with just the right amount of edge to it. He glides effortlessly between genres, from innovative, undefinable styles to sliding in
and out of pop, country and gospel to traditional country and cutting edge bluegrass.

On Open Window, his first solo CD, Jim Hurst surrounds himself with the best. For starters, Raines, of course, is here; the two fit each others’ styles like a matched set of sterling silver and fine china – simply elegant.
Fred Carpenter provides some sharp, driving fiddle breaks, while the ever-tasteful Gene Wooten gives it up on the dobro and baritone harmonies on “17 Days.” Hurst comes in not only on guitar but also on banjo on this number, an original composition. Hurst’s guitar playing is showcased
without flaw on his arrangement for solo guitar of Bill Monroe’s “Wheel Hoss,” not an easy feat for any lone instrument! He pulls it off and you’d swear you heard at least four other instruments playing. Hurst
cites Jerry Reed as his “biggest influence” and hence his tribute, “Swamp Reed,” a
heady instrumental with Raines on bass, Rob Ickes, dobro, and Sam Bush kicking out mandolin chops.
Always a pleasure to hear on contemporary recordings is a Louvin Brothers song. “My Baby’s Gone” is a great one and the treatment Hurst gives it is picture perfect. Andrea Zonn contributes fiddle while Claire Lynch sings tenor to Hurst’s lead and baritone.
An original instrumental, “Alarm Clock,” gets an interesting touch with Raymond McLain’s unique banjo style, in which he
occasionally strays from three-finger bluegrass rolls to throwing in a frail or two. Hurst lets it all hang out here, jazzing up the house
with his excellent guitar playing.
“Crazy Locomotion Blues,” a Hurst
original co-written with Steve Hylton, is another prime example of why someone in Music City ought to grab this man and sign him to a major recording contract. His ability
to put across a song effortlessly blends well with his rich, full country-style voice.

All-told, the entire CD contains a winning selection of numbers and appealing arrangements; six of the thirteen are originals by Hurst or co-written with Steve Hylton. More highlights are the swingy “This Old
Guitar” from the pen of Jonathan Edwards, with its quiet hint of drums and Raines playing
ever-so-tasteful bass. “A Minor Infraction,” an original instrumental, is filled with
interesting mandolin and guitar patterns and fills. Hurst and Raines showcase their duo appeal on “The Pearl of Pearl KY,” an exquisite
instrumental original. There is unbeatable depth to the gospel
“I Can Tell You The Time.” Here
Claire Lynch sings tenor, Michael McLain, baritone, Sheaton Feazell, bass, with Hurst singing lead, alto and playing spare guitar
accompaniment. “Tall Pines” again shows off Hurst’s bluegrass side on guitar and vocals with Vic Jordan offering up banjo, Keith Little playing mandolin, Bobby Hicks fiddling his smooth lines, Ben
Surratt donating baritone vocals and Raines rounding out on bass.

Don’t try to pigeon-hole this recording into one genre; it’s a heck of a great compilation
of just what Jim Hurst and his
music are all about.

SPL - Sing Out! Magazine

"Jim Hurst - Second Son"

Jim Hurst, Second Son.

Jim Hurst's sophomore solo album is a remarkably well-rounded disc filled with great singing, wonderful renditions of classic and contemporary tunes, and lots of hot picking by some of Nashville's bluegrass elite. Hurst was the International Bluegrass Music Association's Guitarist of the Year in 2001, but the revelations on Second Son are his stirring baritone voice and soulful delivery, as heard on songs like "Big Iron" and "The Long Road." Flatpick fanatics will love his solo on "Lonesome Road Blues" and the fiery fretwork he dishes out on "Stafford's Stomp" backed by pals Missy Raines (bass), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), and Tim Stafford (guitar). Second Son proves that Hurst is first class in every area. (Pinecastle, www.pinecastle.com)

—David McCarty
- Acoustic Guitar Magazine

"Beyond "State of the Art" Bluegrass and Fingerstyle Guitar"

Fingerstyle guitar is a beautiful cousin of other acoustic musical forms like Bluegrass. Artists who are virtuoso of Fingerstyle or Flatpicking Bluegrass guitar usually appreciate the "other" style, but usually they rarely even attempt the other style, much less master it. I can think of no other example of someone who is a complete master of BOTH fingerstyle and flatpicking. Jim Hurst is simply the man.

Jim also has a pleasant, hardy voice and his song selection is fantastic. His songs are not shallow, and not syruppy - there is plenty of "meat" on these bones. Here he covers the old Marty Robbins gem "Big Iron", and in the hands of Jim and bandmates the song comes out gliding and growling as Jim gives us the story of Texas Red and the Ranger with the "Big Iron on his hip". 3 Days Deep, Forever Wide has both a clever hook and more drive than Flatt and Scruggs at full throttle. A Gospel Quartet on "Sin's Dark Valley" perfectly complements Jim's lead vocal. Stafford's Stomp is a bluegrass instrumental that demonstrates why Jim was the IBMA Guitarist of the Year for 2000 and 2001.

You simply can't find a better Bluegrass album than this one. I also recommend Jim's duet recordings with Missy Raines. I can't wait to hear what Jim does next! - Mark Fowler - Amazon.com

"Review- Open Window - Jim Hurst"

Nothing Like a Hundred Miles/Wheel Hoss/17 Days/Swamp Reed/My Baby's Gone/Alarm Clock/Crazy Locomotion Blues/This Old Guitar/A Minor Infraction/I can Tell You the Time/The Pearl of Pearl KY/Tall Pines/Little Bit O' Blues

I remember one particular event that sparked my interest in music. As a teenager, I was walking down the sidewalk on a hot summer day. I stopped when I heard live music coming from an open window of one of the long lines of brick rowhouses common to the neighborhood. It wasn't bluegrass, mind you, but some of the popular seventies rock of the day. As I listened, I felt camaraderie with them, like they had let me in on a secret. Through the open window, the group had shared a part of themselves with anyone within earshot.

'Open Window' is the self produced debut CD by Jim Hurst, best known as the guitarist with Claire Lynch and the Front Porch String Band. Listening to this project reminded me of that summer day. His unique guitar style and smooth, pleasant baritone provide the frame around a wide range of influences. Through Hurst's 'Open Window,' we hear bluegrass, blues, contemporary songwriters, jazz and some original material. Yet he has maintained a cohesive bond throughout, a rare feat for many debuts. 'Open Window' affords Hurst the opportunity to share his personal view of the musical horizon.

Supporting Hurst on 'Open Window' is IBMA bassist of the year Missy Raines and Michael McLain on banjo, both members of the Front Porch String Band. Guests include Claire Lynch, Sam Bush, Rob Ickes, Gene Wooten, and Bobby Hicks among others. The window opens with James Taylor's 'Nothing Like a Hundred Miles,' letting us know right away this is not a typical guitarist's solo project. The bass line sets a relaxed groove for Hurst's vocal and guitar work, backed up nicely with the steady drive of McLain's banjo, Fred Carpenter's fiddle and Ric McClure on drums. (Note for the faint of heart: A few tracks do include drums, but never to the detriment of the tunes. On the contrary, Hurst should be complimented for using the drums so well. They add a refreshing touch to the rhythm section on selected cuts.) Jonathan Edwards' 'This Old Guitar' receives a jazz treatment, complete with Hurst's scat vocal/guitar soloing reminiscent of jazz great George Benson. Bill Monroe's influence pops up in a few places. 'Tall Pines' is performed as straight-ahead bluegrass, while the gospel song 'I Can Tell You the Time' and the Louvin's 'My Baby's Gone' both showcase Hurst's roots in traditional country music.

Now let's talk about guitar. Hurst is not a traditional flatpicking bluegrass guitarist. His style is a unique blend of fingerpicking and flatpicking, shaped from many different influences. The second cut of 'Open Window' is Hurst's solo guitar arrangement of Monroe's 'Wheel Hoss.' This is the kind of stuff that makes grown men play air guitar in the living room. Of course women enjoy great picking too, but I believe air guitar is a uniquely male phenomenon. As it builds, Hurst adds more and more: Melody, bass, rhythm and even a percussive drive around the basic tune. 'Swamp Reed' is Hurst's tribute to his biggest influence, Jerry Reed. While Reed is known by most for his musical humor or acting roles, guitarists 'in-the-know' consider him a fingerstyle legend. Sam Bush and Rob Ickes join the duo of Hurst and Raines in making 'Swamp Reed' a killer instrumental cut. 'A Minor Infraction' comes from Hurst's days as truck driver. This original track shows not just his fingerstyle influences, but also invokes the spirit of such guitar greats as Doc Watson and Tony Rice, not names I toss around lightly. 'Open Window' closes with 'Little Bit O' Blues,' a tasty treat featuring Hurst's Chet Atkins flavored electric guitar musings over a blues walk laid down by Mike Robbins and McClure.

'Open Window' should open many doors for Jim Hurst. His fresh approach to the guitar could have a major impact on others, in the same way Doc and Rice influenced earlier generations. The only obstacle he faces may be getting heard. 'Open Window' is a self-produced effort with little distribution. If you are interested, make the effort to find it, or use the ordering information below. Artists such as Hurst need support from fans, especially when trying to get their music heard without the corporate machine behind them. Then sit back and listen to the sounds coming from Jim Hurst's 'Open Window.'
- Michael Routh / iBluegrass.com


Open Window 1998; Two 2000; Second Son 2002; Synergy 2003: A Box of Chocolates 2007



Jim Hurst’s unique picking style and mastery of bluegrass guitar wows audiences and is revered by both novice guitar players and his musical peers. His eclectic career has made him a remarkable performer, an experienced instructor and a highly sought after session musician. His affability and gregariousness make him one of the most approachable musicians of his caliber.

The product of a musical family, Jim honed his musical style after being influenced by the likes of Tony Rice, Clarence White and Jerry Reed. He got national exposure with Holly Dunn’s Rio Band playing acoustic guitar and mandolin, and singing harmonies; followed by several high profile television and radio appearances while touring with Trisha Yearwood playing acoustic and electric guitar, and harmony vocals. Jim also experienced performances and recording with Sara Evans.

Itching to play more bluegrass, Jim joined the Grammy-nominated Claire Lynch and her Front Porch String Band in 1995 where he teamed up with kindred spirit bassist Missy Raines. While with Claire Lynch, Missy and Jim formed a duet, creating ground-breaking arrangements. They earned IBMA Guitar and Bass Player of the Year awards for 2001 and 2002.

Wanting to pursue greater artistic freedom, Jim left the Claire Lynch Band in 2010 to embark on a solo career. With three solo works to his credit, Open Window, Second Son, and his latest 2007 release, A Box of Chocolates, Jim’s virtuosity shines as he consistently sways audiences with his deft finger work and smooth vocals. Jim performs his show full time and teaches at guitar workshops and music camps in North America and Europe. While he occasionally collaborates with other bluegrass greats, notably David Grisman, and Rob Ickes, his solo performance is what keeps audiences mesmerized.

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