Adam Hurt, called the best drop thumb banjo player by Ricky Skaggs, will chat with Sunset Road host Pete this Friday afternoon, November 13, about his new album, Back to the Earth. Sunset Road is heard every Friday afternoon from 4-6 (eastern) on WTJU (91.1 FM, streaming at wtju.net, or by asking your smart speaker to “Play WTJU”).
“Over the decade that has passed since I released Earth Tones, I keep being amazed by the response that listeners have had to that simple project of solo clawhammer banjo instrumentals played on the fretless gourd banjo. While all things are relative, Earth Tones has been my most successful CD project by far, with many physical reprintings over the years and still strong digital-download and streaming numbers. The evidence is clear: audiences are moved by the warm, soothing sound of this unique instrument and my approach to arranging music for it, and not just banjo-oriented audiences, either. I have so often heard from banjo enthusiasts who give Earth Tones as a gift to loved ones whom they claim do not even like the sound of the banjo or its music!
“In an effort to deliver to my audience more of the music that they seem to like the best, I decided that 2020 would be a ceremonially appealing time to release a new collection of gourd banjo music. To satisfy my own desire, however, for growth in my musical aesthetic, I knew that this follow-up project, Back to the Earth, needed to not merely reinvent the Earth Tones wheel; rather, I wanted it to move in a new direction while still feeling reassuringly familiar. To that end, I recruited some of my favorite traditional musicians and arranged seven selections as collaborations to represent my most current style, alongside several solo arrangements that harken more directly back to Earth Tones. I could not be more honored to include such icons as Ricky Skaggs, members of Hawktail, and alums of the Johnson Mountain Boys among others, all of whose superlative musicianship helped these arrangements transcend the boundaries of old-time music.” – Adam Hurt
Deemed a “banjo virtuoso” by the Washington Post, Hurt has fused traditional old-time idioms to create his own clawhammer banjo style. A respected performer and teacher of traditional music, Adam has played at the Kennedy Center, conducted banjo and fiddle workshops around the country and abroad, and been featured on the cover of Banjo Newsletter. Since 2002, Adam has placed in or won most of the major old-time banjo competitions, including three first-place finishes at prestigious Clifftop.
“A few years ago I decided to learn how to play drop things banjo. I had a very nice Jason Romero banjo and thought I was on my way. I asked Ricky Skaggs who the best drop thumb banjo player was. He said Adam Hurt. I bought a couple of his records. Ricky was right. Nobody has the finesse and fluidity that Adam plays with. And that gourd delivers a glorious sound! I never did learn how to play the banjo. Why would I? I can just listen to him.” — Jerry Douglas, Dobro master and 14-time GRAMMY winner
“Adam Hurt is one of the most exciting banjo players in the world today. His warm, rounded, soulful tone is hard to come by, and he makes his mastery of the instrument look effortless. I could listen to Adam’s playing for days on end!” — Sarah Jarosz, singer/songwriter, instrumentalist, three-time GRAMMY winner
“I can remember two musicians that specifically stopped me dead in my tracks. One was Earl Scruggs, and the other was Adam Hurt. Both men had five string banjos in their hands, both were doing phenomenal things with them…but in completely different ways. Adam has enriched and expanded the old-time banjo world with every project he has released, and this latest installment is no exception.” — Russ Carson, Banjo (Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder)