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Jim Hurst

Second Son – 2002 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

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CDs by Jim Hurst

On his first album since winning the International Bluegrass Music Association's Guitar Player Of The Year honor in 2001, Jim Hurst offers ample evidence for the esteem in which his colleagues hold him. With a top notch guest list that includes long time musical partner Missy Raines on bass, the former truck driver works through a nicely varied set with an abundance of taste, polish and heartfelt emotion.

Though Hurst can put together fine straightforward bluegrass cuts like "Lonesome Road Blues" and the new "Three Days Deep Forever Wide," there's a lot more to the album, and it's to his credit that though he's best known as an instrumentalist, it's a predominantly vocal one. Hurst's singing probably won't win any awards, but he does a good job, investing each vocal with a simple, sincere approach to material that obviously strikes a deep chord for him.

While there's a strong contemporary flavor to new songs from writers like Tim Stafford and Claire Lynch, Hurst does equally well with his own material, Marty Robbins' classic "Big Iron" and more, including the spectacular solo performance of "Danny Boy" that closes the album. That variety makes thisa refreshingly different - and outstanding - bluegrass album.