“Jim Hurst is one of the most versatile and tasteful guitar players I know. Whether he’s flailing the rhythm for an old time fiddle tune, laying down a funky groove, or finger picking a beautiful ballad, his playing is both impeccable and creative. Accompanying this instrumental virtuosity is a rich and expressive voice with a surprising range.” Mark Schatz
To listen to Jim Hurst is to be amazed by his tasteful and flawless performances. Perfect timing and tone and his unusual picking style has enchanted guitar players from the novice to his peers. It’s no surprise, then, that his musical mastery began with a musical upbringing paving the way for a winding and varied career path.
Born into a musical family, Jim spent his youth playing guitar under the influences of flat-picking greats Tony Rice, Doc Watson, George Shuffler, and Clarence White. But the finger-style playing of Merle Travis, Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed was the “turn in the road” for Jim. This amalgam of impact defined his technique.
Using his early years to hone his style, Jim’s guitar work and harmony vocals for Holly Dunn’s Rio Band brought his talent to both the national and international stage. Then in 1992, going electric, he played guitar with Trisha Yearwood, touring extensively and appearing on numerous radio and television shows. He also performed with Sara Evans, whose 1998 RCA release No Place That Far features Jim’s vocals and acoustic guitar work.
Craving to play more bluegrass, Jim joined Grammy-nominated Claire Lynch and The Front Porch String Band in 1995, during which time he teamed up with bassist Missy Raines. They began the duet Jim Hurst and Missy Raines while with Front Porch, but then broke off in 2000 to focus solely on their collaboration. Remaining faithful to their bluegrass roots, Jim and Missy explored other genres creating ground-breaking arrangements that wowed the bluegrass community. Their partnership resulted in two Pinecastle Records, Two and Synergy , receiving critical acclaim and garnering them IBMA Guitar and Bass Player of the Year for 2001 and 2002.
Desiring greater freedom to create his own musical path, Jim left the Claire Lynch Band in 2010 to embark on a solo career. Already seasoned with four solo recordings, Open Window, Second Son, A Box of Chocolates, Intrepid, and his latest 2014 release Looking Glass, exhibits his deft guitar work and soothing vocals. His shows meet with rave reviews as he astounds his audiences with his brilliant playing yet makes people feel right at home with his humble congenial and funny persona. Jim is currently performing solo full time, both nationally and internationally, as well as teaching at camps and workshops in North America and Europe. Additionally, his highly sought-after talent has led to side projects with other bluegrass greats. But his solo show, which allows his personal style and unique creativity to come through in spades, is what keeps his audiences mesmerized.