Slowing down hasn’t been a career option country singer and hit songwriter Ryan Hurd has chosen. 2017 was the year that launched him in full swing. The singer/songwriter took on everything – from signing a record deal with RCA Nashville/Sony Music Nashville, to launching his debut self-titled EP that included the autobiographical first single “Love In A Bar,” and even writing hits recorded by superstars like Lady Antebellum and Luke Bryan. While “To A T” is Hurd’s current single on country radio, it’s not stopping him from releasing new music to fans.
Longtime fans would recall Hurd sharing these tunes back in 2015, when he was solely a songwriter, before he deciding to pursue the artist track full time. In fact, when the Michigan native recorded these songs nearly five years ago, he never imagined it would have let to him signing his first major record label deal and having songs on the radio. He was a songwriter who just wanted to pen songs that “reflect the depth of what [he] did.”
Enter: the pensive Panorama EP.
This 4-song collection, released today (7/19) as a gift to fans, paints a picturesque imagery of Hurd’s journey and heart, both as a writer and individual. Included in his career-foundation project is the heart-tugging and raw “Good As You Think I Am,” a song he penned with wife Maren Morris and the late Andrew Dorff; and “I’ll Be The Moon,” which was cut by Dierks Bentley and Morris for Bentley’s Black album in 2016.
The 32-year-old shared exclusively with Sounds Like Nashville the place where these songs came from and what each of them mean to him.
“Panorama” (Hurd, Aaron Eshuis)
“There is something universal and existential about looking up at the sky. It’s about finding your place in the universe and in someone else’s heart at the same time. Your love feels like the wind, and this is me singing how the wind sounds in a song. I think about how fast life goes by, and I think about how we don’t know anything, and that’s basically what it means to know everything. Panorama: the ecstasy of being exactly where you’re supposed to be.” – Hurd
Key lyric: silence and two hearts on fire
“Mississippi To Me” (Hurd, Laura Veltz, Jessie Jo Dillon)
“This is my guitar driven indie rock take on country music. You can’t explain it away, it doesn’t matter why you’re going, just that you are. You lost me when you said it’s over. You can’t soften the blow or make me agree with you. It’s the agony of a breakup, but it could be anywhere or anything. You’re talking reasons, but you lost me the moment you said you’re leaving.” – Hurd
Key lyric: you’re talking reasons, but you lost me back at I’m leaving
“Good As You Think I Am” (Hurd, Maren Morris, Andrew Dorff)
“I think when you see yourself through the lens of someone else’s love it changes you. This song hits me because the melody lives up to the sentiment in the lyrics. As a love song, it’s such an overwhelming realization, trying to become the person that she sees, wanting to live up to the love you’ve been given.” – Hurd
Key lyric: you think I’m an anchor, some kind of savior, something stronger, something braver / you see an answer where it ain’t and a halo where I can’t, I want to be as good as you think I am / some day I’ll be as good as you think I am.
“I’ll Be The Moon” (Hurd, Heather Morgan, Matt Dragstrem)
“Loving someone so much that you’re willing to take whatever they are willing to give, even if it means being the other. He can be the sun, the day time, the one you love in the light, and I’ll take whatever is left in the dark. I’ll be whatever it is you want me to be. It’s the universal anguish of wanting what you can’t have.” -Hurd
Key lyric: you can leave me in the dark if that’s all I get from you/ you can be the sun and I’ll be the moon.
If you sit down, close your eyes and take a listen to these 4 tracks, you’ll realize that, along with Hurd, you’ve embarked on an emotionally-heavy yet ruminative train down memory lane. Get your heart ready for a ride, and listen here.