Ryan Hurd: ‘Pelago’ – Album Review

Ryan Hurd’s long-awaited debut album, Pelago is out now, October 15th on all streaming platforms. Featuring eleven new songs, including “Chasing After You” with Maren Morris, check out our full review and listen to the brand new music below.

After making a name for himself as one of Nashville’s hottest songwriters, with #1 hits for Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Lady A and more, Ryan Hurd branched out as an artist of his own. And we’re oh-so-glad he did.

After a string of EPs and songwriting #1s, the rising superstar released his debut full-length album today (October 15) with Arista Nashville, Pelago. Inspired by growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan, the album was produced by Hurd’s childhood friend Aaron Eshuis, with assistance from Jesse Frasure and Teddy Reimer.

Having co-written ten of the album’s eleven tracks, Pelago truly continues Hurd’s introduction as both a brilliant songwriter and an incredibly talented artist. This is evidenced throughout the album, as he artfully weaves clever lyrics with catchy melodies that paint brilliant pictures, break your heart, or make you want to dance.

The album opens with the anthemic “Pass It On,” a bright and beachy invitation to listeners to share whatever it is that’s good in their life. It’s the kind of song that immediately turns a day around or a frown upside down, making it the perfect song to introduce the album. “What good is your dollar or your love or your bottle // If you keep it all to yourself // There’s enough to go around // So send it on down,” Hurd sings. “‘Cause you can’t take it with you when you’re gone // So pass it on, pass it on, pass it on.”

While it may seem out of place for a kid from Michigan to embrace the beachy musical tones that are often heard from the likes of Jake Owen or Kenny Chesney (name dropped on this album), those themes come just as natural to Hurd, and are absolutely authentic. Tracks like “Coast,” “June,  July, August,” and “Palm Trees in Ohio” continue that homage to the coastal life on the shores of Lake Michigan that filled Hurd’s childhood.

While the album is truly filled with standout tracks, one such highlight is “Palm Trees in Ohio.” The love song puts a unique spin on the idea of loving someone forever, putting Palm trees in Ohio up there with pigs flying and hell freezing. “‘Til there’s palm trees in Ohio // No traffic in LA // No snow in Colorado // No cold beer on a Saturday,” Hurd proclaims. “When the Great Lakes run out of water // When the sky stops turning blue // That’s when I // That’s when I // That’s when I’m gonna stop loving you.”

While Hurd shines on the tropical-tinted up-tempos, he’s just as convincing on the slower tracks, including the sultry duet “Chasing After You” with his wife, Maren Morris. “What Are You Drinking” and “The Knife or the Hatchet” are other album highlights. On the former, a moody piano ballad, Hurd wonders what an ex is drinking, curious if she’s celebrating with champagne or drowning her sorrows in a glass of something stronger. 

Likewise, “The Knife or the Hatchet” is a shining moment of the album, finding Hurd stuck in relationship limbo, unsure if his heart should stay or go. “Anything’s better than you and me living in the in-between,” He croons, his voice breaking with emotion. “So all I ask is// Twist the knife// Or bury the hatchet.”

Meanwhile, on “If I Had Two Hearts,” Hurd is admitting defeat and wondering how to move on after a relationship ends. The guy is broken and wishing for another heart to heal from its brokenness. “If I had two hearts // One wouldn’t be broken // If I had two hearts,” He admits.One would still be mine // On my sleeve out in the open // Knowing someday I’d be fine // But if I had one more to give you baby // I know what’s I’d do // Oh-oh-oh // Oh-oh-oh // I’d let you break that one too.”

For Ryan Hurd, each song on Pelago is a story in itself. “Writing’s my vocation, and I enjoy the people I work with,” says the singer-songwriter in a recent statement. “I’ve learned there are a lot of ways to do this. But then there’s the personal. As I move through life, every experience, every person, every story could be a song.”

While it would be easy for Ryan Hurd to make a living as a writer, evidenced by his ever-growing and impressive body of work, he’s even more magical as an artist. These songs and stories are uniquely his, making Pelago a personal and powerful debut album.

Pelago Track List:

  1. Pass It On
  2. Coast
  3. Chasing After You (with Maren Morris)
  4. June, July, August
  5. Palm Trees in Ohio
  6. If I Had Two Hearts
  7. Tab with My Name on It
  8. What Are You Drinking
  9. Hell Is an Island
  10. The Knife or the Hatchet
  11. I Never Said I’m Sorry

Our  Picks:

  1. Palm Trees in Ohio
  2. If I Had Two Hearts
  3. The Knife or the Hatchet

Ryan Hurd’s debut album ‘Pelago’ is officially out now. 

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Pelago is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.