Jim Hurst is an IBMA award-winning guitar player and singer. His resume is long and his recognition is well earned. I think it is fair to say that Hurst is a musician’s musician. He is versatile, relaxed and ready to play in all kinds of contexts or genres of acoustic music that his career path has taken him. In the world of bluegrass guitarists, I’ve particularly appreciated his ease of going between flat picking and finger-style techniques. As a singer, his delivery is warm, tuneful and tasteful.
On this release, Hurst has assembled a well-known and fairly numerous cast of accompanying musicians as we course through the eleven songs on this release. I’ll name just a few: Shawn Lane, Emory Lester, Dale Ann Bradley, Kristin Scott Benson, Jason Carter, Don Rigsby, Jeanette Williams. Not surprisingly, this variety of musicians reflects Hurst’s own career as part of ensembles with both female and male vocalists. When all is said and done, however, this is a Jim Hurst record, and he remains the glue.
The song material is gathered from sources spanning from the Delmore Brothers to contemporary songwriters like John Cadley and from Hurst himself. In particular, I enjoyed Hurst’s “It Started With Love” and a nice new version of Keith Little’s “Weary Old Highway”. But that is just scratching the surface of a very solid recording from one of bluegrass music’s premiere pickers of the last several decades. If you are already a fan of Jim Hurst, this CD will more than meet your expectations.