Emily Hurd
Emily Hurd is one of my favorite “discoveries” in the past few years. I have to give credit to longtime music publicist Anne Leighton for putting Hurd’s music on my radar. It was sometime in 2011 when a copy of Long Lost Ghosts showed up at my P.O. Box. I pulled the CD out of the package and saw the title and thought “that’s a cool name for an album.” Listening to the songs on Long Lost Ghosts, particularly “Brand New,” drew me in even further and I made a mental note that I should do something with Emily — an interview to talk about these songs, or at the very least, a review of the CD.

Life got busy and that didn’t happen, but a funny thing did. Hurd kept making music. As a music fan, perhaps you know what I’m getting at. Sometimes you get a great album from somebody and then you never hear from them again. That certainly isn’t the case with Emily Hurd, who has made a total of ten studio albums since 2005, sometimes putting out two albums in a single year. If there’s anybody who is taking advantage of the benefits of the new “Wild Wild West” that is the current music industry, it’s definitely Emily Hurd, who looks at the structure of the playing field and uses it to her advantage as an opportunity to create music frequently.

As Hurd relates to us during our conversation, when she’s working on an album, she’s already got plans for the next three albums mapped out in her head. Which explains the timed release of Any Given Day, the fantastic holiday album that Hurd released last year, which was very quickly followed by the release of Burn Like A Field, her current album and debut release with her new band Stone Blind Valentine, a project which leans in more of a country/bluegrass direction.

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Hurd takes a very hands on approach to all aspects of her career — for example, both Any Given Day and Burn Like A Field arrived in our mailbox with handwritten notes from Emily, complete with contact information. While Hurd has a publicist, she takes the time to dig in and make things feel more personal than the traditional packaged CD/press release combo. In the midst of music overload that comes with the volume of material that we receive on a daily basis, stuff like that really sticks out and leaves an impression.

But it’s Hurd’s music that makes the greatest impression. When you put on one of her albums, you never really know what to expect. Any Given Day might be a “holiday” album in name, but musically, it’s something that rings true no matter what season you might be listening to it. Her songs resonate because they feel real and Hurd doesn’t overthink the recording process (we discuss part of the reasoning that goes into this approach) which leaves a lot of room for the material to breathe. There are imperfections which become simply elements of the finished product — they’re not viewed as flaws, but instead as pieces of the final document that accurately reflect what was going on in the room at the time that the songs were created.

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In talking with Hurd, it’s clear that she’s in it for the long haul on every level and there’s a lot to be glad about in that statement. There will be more music, both from Hurd herself and also Stone Blind Valentine and we’ll be looking forward to hearing each and every second of it.

— Matt Wardlaw

The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 20: Emily Hurd

Purchase the new Stone Blind Valentine album and get information regarding upcoming shows at Emily’s official website.