Ryan Hurd – Pelago

Ryan Hurd - Pelago



4.8/5 Pros

  • Great songwriting
  • Wide range of tracks
  • Nice "Best of" block as a bonus at the end of the album

On 15th October 2021, Ryan Hurd is indeed releasing his debut album. Even though he is releasing music since 2017, he so far just published EPs. Now, he is presenting his skills as an artist and songwriter in the fifteen song album Pelago.


Ryan Hurd – About The Artist

Ryan Hurd was born on 2nd November 1986 in Chicago. The US country artist had one airport number one hit as a songwriter with Lonely Tonight (performed by Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe). As a solo artist, he hasn’t made it to the top yet, but at least gained quite some reputation with four EPs released so far, starting with a self-titled album in April 2017. His last major release was EOM EP in June 2020. This year, he had a Top 3 US Country Single Charts entry with the song Chasing After You, recorded with his spouse Maren Morris. The track was also Top 20 in the Canadian Country Charts. The song is included in Pelago. His most successful individually recorded song so far was the 2018 To a T, which did not have a superb chart ranking, but nonetheless received a platinum record.


Ryan Hurd – Pelago – Track by Track

The fifteen song album lasts 52 minutes. The last four songs are rather a “best of” of his previous releases. I also found a track listing which did not include these last four tracks.

1. Pass It On

Pass It On feels like the a perfect opener. The song is very catchy (maybe, the background vocals are a bit much…) and comes with a nice vibe from the very beginning. You listen to it and feel like dancing and listening to the song. No chance to be passive.

2. Coast

Laid out on the west one underneath the red sun
You and the sand getting hotter
We’ll make our own Pelago, Michigan, Chicago
Baby, dip your toes in the water
One wave at a time, your lips on mine
Baby, take it real slow
Point it where the wind blows and just coast

Some sort of hidden title track? Even though I am more caught by the vibes of the opener, Coast is a nice one, for sure. Again, Hurd is creating a great musical atmosphere, which just gently takes you into his story and his melodies. Good times music.

3. Chasing After You (feat. Maren Morris)

The third track is the already well-known intra-family duet with Maren Morris. If these guys live together as they sing together, they definitely have a bright future. Lovely harmony.

4. June, July, August

Three already released tracks in a row – this one is a lovely praise of enjoying the summer months in your young adult times of life… Or even in the teenage years? With lyrics like When we were young and drunk by the water you better not ask the US-American whether he was already 21, when he created these memories.

5. Palm Trees In Ohio

If you ask yourself what this song is about, I just disclose the chorus about. Slower song, again with a beautiful groove and atmosphere. And great lyrics:

‘Til there’s palm trees in Ohio
No traffic in LA
No snow in Colorado
No cold beer on a Saturday
When the Great Lakes run out of water
When the sky stops turning blue
That’s when I, That’s when I
That’s when I’m gonna stop loving you

6. If I Had Two Hearts

Love is also the topic of the sixth track – however, this time it is a break-up story. Wrapping the chorus up, Ryan Hurd states that If I had two hearts, […] I’d let you break that one, too. Nice mid-tempo song with very nice storytelling.

7. Tab With My Name On It

Out of the four songs (not including the “best of” block at the end) previously released, I likely would name Tab With My Name On It to be the one I like least. That’s telling the story from one perspective. From the other one: it is still a really nice song. The country-beer drinking stereotype is serviced at least not in a too dumpy way in this track. Good listen.

8. What Are You Drinking

Are you sippin’ on red wine
You thinkin’ ’bout old times
Is it a straight tequila night
Or a beer with the girls in a downtown dive
Are you raisin’ up champagne
Is there a tear in your Tanqueray
Are you heartbroke
Are you doing fine
I wanna know
What are you drinkin’ tonight

The plot of the song with strong piano elements is nice. But to me, that’s just a bit too much alcoholic. Are there people out there who really think about their previously beloved people like that? If that’s the key memory you share about a relationship *hicks*, it has likely been a good breakup.

9. Hell Is An Island

After being very critical with the eighth song, Hell Is An Island makes me smile from the very beginning. Ryan Hurd is blending reggae vibes with country music – and the melody already makes you love the song even before you really started listening to the lyrics.

10. The Knife Or the Hatchet

The song is the emotional highlight of the album to me. 3:34 minutes about unhappy love. Twist the knife or bury the hatchet – great song.

11. Never Said I’m Sorry

The last song of the album before the “best of section” starts really slow, but rather feels like a mid-tempo song in the chorus. Nice break in the atmosphere between the verses and the chorus. A song, which is nicely focused on its story.

12. Platonic

I won’t write too much about these four songs – if you are in country music, you know them anyway. Just to name it in figures: if you look at Spotify streams (at the time of writing the review), the opener to this four song section, Platonic, is by far the “lousiest” performed – with 6.5 million streams. The other songs at least have 36 million streams each – figures which illustrate the great talent of Ryan Hurd to write songs people like.

I have to say that I love the other three songs, but Platonic is not my favorite. It feels a bit of “incomplete” to me. But Spotify shows me that most country music listeners would not agree to this thought.

13. Every Other Memory

I feel that this track has some very own magic. It did not feel that special to me at first listen. But It just stays in your mind. And it stayed in the minds and hearts of many other listeners, according to the undeniable figures.

14. To a T

The big one. Over 100 million streams. That kind of song many artists dream about writing. Ryan Hurd did the right song at the right time – just lovely.

15. Diamonds or Twine

That’s my favorite song by Ryan Hurd so far. And it closes his debut album. So I just have to love Pelago, don’t I?


Ryan Hurd – Pelago – Spotify

Here is Pelago on Spotify:


Ryan Hurd – Pelago – My View

Hard to find the right words for this album. Ryan Hurd just did it! Eleven songs plus the impressive “Ryan Hurd Song Hall of Fame” at the end of the album – that’s a great listen. The songs feature a wide range of listening experience – there is just not much you could do better in modern country music.


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