Country singers Ryan Hurd and his wife, Maren Morris, are putting their family first during the COVID-19 quarantine.
They welcomed their first child, son Hayes Andrew Hurd, in March and are spending their pandemic-driven break watching him mature.
“We’re enjoying being home,” said Hurd, who lives in Nashville. “We’re proud to be with our son and that part has been a huge positive. We wish we were on the road with our teams, so we could see our fans and play shows. That’s who we are and that’s a huge part of our identity. It’s been cool to see Hayes every day and not miss anything, though.”
The break hasn’t been all about family, though. Hurd released his latest collection, “EOM,” on June 26. The EP includes an acoustic recording of his latest single “Every Other Memory;” a live version of “Wish For the World” recorded at Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom; his cover of Taylor Swift’s “False God,” as well as new versions of his best-known songwriting hits including “Heartless” and “Sunrise Sunburn Sunset.”
For “False God,” Hurd said it’s fun to dive into other artists’ songwriting.
“When her album came out, I wrote on my story how much I loved that song,” he said. “She reposted my story, so I covered it. I love that song and that album (‘Lover’). She’s somebody I have so much respect for as a songwriter.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hurd was playing it live. He said it paid off.
“When you play live music and you have fans in the room, you have Taylor Swift fans in the room,” Hurd said. “She’s the biggest artist in the world. I think it’s cool, too, to hear a man sing a song that was originally written by and performed by a woman. It brings a different perspective.
“I didn’t have to change any pronouns to make it work for me, either. It’s a testament to her writing and the gender norms we express.”
The new single from “EOM” is the title track, “Every Other Memory,” which he cowrote with Cole Taylor and Nathan Spicer. The song is a nostalgic romp through a man’s former relationship with lyrics like: “That last call, first kiss never left my mind/That old school Springsteen gets me every time/And when I see that leather jacket/Think about how you had it.”
Speaking of lyrics, Hurd has had co-pen credits on some of country music’s biggest hits, including “Lonely Tonight” (Blake Shelton), “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” (Luke Bryan), “You Look Good” and “What If I Never Get Over You” (Lady Antebellum), and “Heartless” (Diplo ft. Morgan Wallen).
“As far as lyrics go, we work so hard on them,” he said. “It’s nice to have people listen to them. I thought the one thing we do so well in country music is nostalgia and painting visual pictures with song.
“It touches on so many different nerves for the listener. I really love the way it turned out. We knew immediately ‘Every Other Memory’ was going to be special. Everybody’s eyes went up when the band figured it out.”
Music has been Hurd’s calling since his formative years in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“I think this is the only job I ever wanted since I was 11,” said Hurd, who earned a sociology degree from Belmont University in Nashville. “I did school, but I thought I would give this a go. I’ve always loved writing songs. Once I found out this is the job I can do, I made sure I really cherished being a songwriter in Nashville.”
And he has done so since then. COVID forced the cancellation of the back part of his headlining tour and he’s “bummed” it didn’t work out. Hurd said it feels “strange” to be home in July, but to be home with Hayes and Morris is priceless.
“We’ve enjoyed being in Nashville in the summertime,” he said. “There are good parts to this pandemic. We miss the teams and we miss our fans and all the people on the buses, and our friends we see in every city—the people we count on seeing on tour. We’ll see them next year.”