Michigan native Ryan Hurd originally started out as a songwriter, crafting hits for the likes of Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley and Lady Antebellum, before releasing his debut EP in 2017. After supporting his fiancee Maren Morris on her UK tour last autumn and winning over UK fans, Hurd made his return to these shores over the weekend as part of C2C Festival, including a performance at the BBC Radio 2 Stage.
Hurd opened his set with Chasing After You, which showed off the gravel in his voice against sparse instrumentation. He then launched into the uptempo We Do Us, with its rocky guitars and slinky bassline. It’s one of the standout tracks on his EP and got a huge response from the crowd as he swaggered about the stage.
Throughout the performance Hurd mixed songs from his EP with newer material and even threw in a cover of Kenny Chesney’s Anything But Mine. He also showed off his range of musical styles, switching easily between the summery, laid-back vibes of Half Hoping and the slower Hold You Back, where his rich voice conveyed the raw emotion of the song. Meanwhile, the bluesy Michigan For The Winter gave him a chance to show off his songwriting skills, with great storytelling and vivid imagery.
Hurd closed his set with his take on You Look Good, a song he wrote which was originally recorded by Lady Antebellum. His performance was full of energy and attitude and got a huge crowd reaction. He then finished with Love In A Bar, an autobiographical song about how he and Morris met, which really highlights the drawl in his voice and shows his more sensitive side, as well as some serious power at the end!
Overall Hurd gave a strong performance and showed why he’s one of the country scene’s rising stars. As well as showing off his strengths as a singer and a songwriter, he’s also come on leaps and bounds in terms of his stage presence and looks a lot more comfortable in front of a crowd. He’s got huge potential to be massive this year and I’m really excited to hear more from him soon.
Set list: 1. Chasing After You 2. We Do Us 3. Half Hoping 4. Hold You Back 5. Michigan For The Winter 6. Anything But Mine (Kenny Chesney cover) 7. You Look Good 8. Love In A Bar Performance date: 11th March 2018