Jim HurstView in iTunes
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These days folks who like bluegrass are looking at guitarist Jim Hurst the way they used to look at Earl Scruggs in the old days. Scruggs used to draw a mountain of admiration and awe with his dexterous fingerstyle playing. Now Hurst is steadily making a name for himself and it's no surprise that Scruggs was one of his earlier influences. The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) honored him with a nomination in the category of Guitar Player of the Year in 2000, the same year the association honored the Jim Hurst and Missy Raines duo in the category of Emerging Artist of the Year. Hurst and Raines had drawn much attention with their 2000 Pinecastle Records release Two. The following year, Hurst took home the title of Guitar Player of the Year, while he and Raines garnered another Emerging Artist of the Year nomination. In addition to the duo, Hurst also put out solo recordings through Pinecastle, starting with Open Window in 1998. Hurst's family roots are deep in the Kentucky soil, in the seat of mountain music. Originally from Frakes, KY, the Hurst family relocated to Ohio. The guitarist's parents moved north long before he entered the world, but they passed along to him their southern traditions and love of music. The record player frequently cranked out the music of Flatt & Scruggs, as well as the Carter Family, Bill Monroe, Reno & Smiley, and the Stanley Brothers. The family didn't just listen, they joined in with their voices and guitars. Hurst began picking up the instrument when he was about four years old. It wasn't until he was about 30, however, that he decided to pursue music in Nashville. Once there, his singing abilities landed him work with such artists as Trisha Yearwood, Holly Dunn, the McCarter Sisters, and Sara Evans. He embarked on road tours and entered banjo, mandolin, and guitar competitions, which he often won. By the mid-'90s, he became a member of the Front Porch String Band, the Claire Lynch group that also included Raines. In addition to performing and recording, Hurst gives instruction at music camps located throughout the U.S. He also formed the Jim Hurst Band, which includes fiddler Joel Whittinghill, mandolinist Michael McLain, banjoist Casey Henry, and bassist Todd Cook. ~ Linda Seida