It beggars belief how Katy Hurt remains unsigned. You would think that record companies would be queuing out the door for her signature. But if her second EP doesn’t turn the heads of music executives, their loss is our gain. Funded by the generous financial pledges of fans, Unfinished Business is a quality record, hitting the mark in every department. From the production to the lyrics, the music to the voice, it is a mini-masterpiece that deserves all the plaudits and recognition that are sure to come its way.
Combining the old with the new, traditional with the modern, Katy Hurt manages to seamlessly weave together two sounds that are believed by some to be diametrically opposed. The current debates around what constitutes “real” country music become rather superfluous when listening to Hurt. With a voice undeniably influenced by the first ladies of country – Parton and Cline among them – but with a desire to draw on the sounds of contemporary rock and pop, Hurt achieves the seemingly impossible on Unfinished Business – staying true to country music’s roots whilst embracing a more mainstream sound.
This is certainly the case on Drink, a low and steady opening track where a classic Country & Western sound is joined by a rock-fuelled chorus to create a very catchy song. Revved Up lands much heavier on the rock vibes. It is a song whose wheels dig in and kick up the dirt, leaving a trail of smoke in its wake as it drives down the highway at breakneck speed. But it never leaves its country origins behind. Similarly, whilst See Ya Later ventures firmly into pop territory, there remains, nevertheless, a distinct country influence. It is most certainly there in spirit if not in the body of the song. With a catchy beat and infectious lyrics, this easy-on-the-ear single deserved a much higher placing than #42 on the iTunes Country chart.
For anyone in doubt of Hurt’s true country music credentials, the title track and the hauntingly beautiful Natchez will set you straight. The former gently breathes on you, causing you to stop and simply be. It is utterly captivating, not least because of Hurt’s vocals. The care and tenderness with which she handles the words of the song brings its story to life in such vivid detail as to render it utterly compelling. Natchez has a similar effect, except here I was brought to tears. Hurt’s voice is deftly clear throughout, broken only by the odd shiver of harmonious pain. The song wraps its arms around you in a deeply emotional embrace. Its heartache is palpable. It completely overwhelms.
To not be affected in some way by the songs on Unfinished Business is surely a signal to get up and go and find your soul. They are filled with such feeling that one cannot help but be moved in some way. Together, they create a record that further announces Katy Hurt as an exceptional talent. It may only be the start of 2019, but Unfinished Business is already a frontrunner for UK Country’s record of the year.
Review by Gaz Williams