WANT TO GO?
Jim Hurst, with Chet Lowther
A Woody Hawley Series concert
WHERE: Clay Center Walker Theater
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.org
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jim Hurst doesn't listen to much country radio anymore, and when he does, he can't really make heads or tails of it. Country music, he thinks, has lost its way and forgotten where it came from.
The acclaimed guitarist and singer/songwriter, who opens the Woody Hawley Series at the Clay Center on Saturday, said, "If you listen to mainstream country music radio, you don't hear Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard or Willie Nelson. It's really sad. All the artists sound the same. It's the same demographic, the same age group, the same kind of sound."
Country music, he said, isn't interested in any kind of real diversity. The labels turn all their artists into basically a variation on the same theme -- and that's boring.
Hurst has a hard time figuring out why anyone would want to listen to that. The good stuff, he said, is on AM radio, on little college radio stations.
"That's where you have to go to hear the people who really started country music," he said.
Hurst came up through country music. He played in Holly Dunn's Rio Band in the '80s and toured with Trisha Yearwood in the early 1990s, playing electric guitar. But by the middle part of that decade, his interests had changed.