Big Timber’s musical son, guitarist/songwriter GT Hurley, has a new album to his credit. He takes his ideas from friends’ stories and his own experiences as an ex-Marine and horse breeder to craft dance-hall music in the country-rock vein, vocalized with a tablespoon of Waylon Jennings. Singing original compositions and one cover, Hurley proves his thick and robust baritone is in good form.
“A lot of my inspiration comes from history,” Hurley says. “I don’t have a tremendous amount of drink-a-beer-pick-up-a-chick tunes.”
It’s obvious in his songwriting. And he likes ballads. A good example: in the lilting waltz, “Montana Wind,” Hurley whispers, “… ghosts of old hookers and buckaroos haunt the old saloons.” He makes us feel the ambience.
He can rock, too. The age-old story of falling for the wrong woman gets the limelight in the Waylon-esque “Everclear Strong” ; and his cool rendition of George McCorkle’s country-rock epic, “Fire on the Mountain,” is more rock than country.
Banjo and mandolin start “Lipstick Buckaroo,” a salute to the cowgirl who can do the work and then get dressed to the nines for a night out.
There’s a taste of Bob Wills Texas swing in “Sunrises and Sunsets,” and “Six String Mistress” offers a tongue-in-cheek look at the guitar a musician loves.
“I play this high-strung lady every chance I can,” Hurley sings. It’s a snappy, shuffly blues with a knock-out Dobro break that slithers and slides all over the place. Whew!
The title tune, “War Horse,” is a true story of ex-soldiers in Texas, and a snare drum gets the nod in “The Reminder,” a poem by one of Hurley’s friends set to music. It’s a deliberate and stately dirge, quite moving.
Hurley nails the western Americana feel, because he’s authentic. And his fine cast of pickers provides the audio color for the songs, so he’s getting national airplay as a result.
His countrywide release will jibe with an article pending in a national publication later in summer, but Montanans get treated to an early album release. Watch for his performances around Montana. He also appears at the Gibson Acoustic Homecoming, a gathering of Gibson instrument owners, in June in Bozeman.
– Mariss McTucker