Lately, it seems anything labeled “country” gets an immediate sigh of anguish. The typical twenty-something will say that they love “all music, except country.” This everything but can be a bit dramatic, since there are always outliers. Next up on that list is London (yep, across the pond) based Country Blues artist Kyle T. Hurley. His debut album was recorded in the UK at the famous Castlesound Studios. On his sophomore album, KTH II, Kyle is joined by guitarist Robin Banerjee (Amy Winehouse), and the songs were recorded at the Abbey Road Studios. Throughout KTH II, it’s clear that Hurley’s brand of country isn’t the predictable type that waxes poetic on pickup trucks and beer (sorry, it’s true).
“This album is as real as I could make it- it’s all true,” admits Hurley. “It’s got a big feeling about it. Now, that’s only my opinion, I might be right or wrong, but you’ll find that feeling in the Grand Canyon at sundown.”
On opener “Pride & Joy,” Hurley introduces us to his muddy blues style, rich in JD McPherson and Willie Nelson influences. Chock full of soul and electrified melodies, Hurley produces a rich palette of Americana– he’s USA born, after all. His London influences show themselves later in the album, though, with more melancholic tracks like “The Holding.” Speaking of “The Holding,” in our last catch-up with Hurley, he added about the track: “‘The Holding’ is a song I wrote about things that happen in life which stay with you… They affect who you are and how you react to things. They hold you back from doing things others, who are scar-less, would normally do without thinking. The song is, in essence, any victim’s scarlet letter.” Moreover, Hurley creates an almost Arctic Monkeys sounding track through “Shot!”, circa Favourite Worst Nightmare. His instrumentations are punchy and sharp, cascading us through his ten powerful tracks.
Hurley’s KTH II shows a new path for the realm of Country Blues. Through his passionate coos and rough riffs, Hurley is putting the genre back where it should be. His tracks are humble and thankful– exactly what we need.
Keep up with Kyle here.