Long Lost Ghosts Reviewed By Dr. Wesley Britton of Bookpleasures.com
Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four books on
espionage in literature and the media. He is also co-host of the
online radio program, Dave White Presents,
for which he interviews authors, musicians, and entertainment
insiders. FOLLOW HERE FOR HIS WEBSITE SPYWISE NET and HERE FOR HIS RADIO PROGRAM. Dr. Britton teaches
English at Harrisburg Area Community College.
Author: Emily Hurd
Emily Hurd has issued 8 studio albums, I confess to hearing her for
the first time on her new Long Lost Ghosts. Where have I been? If
you’re like me, you’ll be delighted to pick up this 10 song
collection and meet a contemporary voice which will remind you of the
stylings of Joni Mitchell, the lyricism of Carole King’s more
confessional songs, but mostly you’ll encounter a new
poet-in-residence from up Chicago way.
Knowing nothing of her previous work, I can say Long Lost Ghosts showcases a songwriter currently full of contentment, maturity, optimism, and is comfortable in her own skin. As a performer, she has a crystalline voice that, again, is reminiscent of Joni Mitchell. Hurd supports her songs with spare acoustic guitar and piano with only a few subtle overdubs that add a lively touch to her clever lyrics. I’ll go as far as to say Hurd is one of the most intriguing wordsmiths I’ve heard in a long time. You can read all her new lyrics now at her website to whet your appetite. They demand more than a cursory listen.
The album appropriately
opens with “Long Lost Ghosts,” which signals we’re off on a
journey with a windshield wiper rhythm and lyrics about a woman
riding the Greyhound bus thinking about her past, present, and
future. “I want someone with your smile I want someone with your
laugh” is about a lady who wants a certain gent to realize they
share the same desires. Hurd’s vocals get a bit Nashville for “My
Favorite Part” which is all about beginnings—“cue up the
record” because getting started is where all the fun is. When it’s
time to “cue up the crickets,” the story is over and it’s time
to look back and enjoy the memories. With a similar tone and
approach, “I Love You Too” describes a lady wanting to jump past
the first “I love you” and get to it.
Then, Hurd continues the theme of communications between lovers. The gentle, poetic “Silent Conversations” sketches a relationship in which no words are needed—“How you make me feel” is as clear as any words. After all, “Our bodies are very well spoken.” On the other side of the spectrum, Hurd does a lot of talking in “I Won't Tell A Soul” in which she confesses everything to the wind, trees, and stars including “I would like to like you like you know the world’s been told.” Perhaps the least reproachful break-up song ever written is “Irreparably Yours” in which the singer proclaims “you broke my heart in a nice way” and “You ruined me for everything after you/ I am irreparably yours.”
Then, “Brand New”
juxtaposes what happened last year with new decisions, as in “Last
year’s feet took this year’s walk.” While every song on the set
is radio friendly, “Skipping Stones” comes closest to a tune
crafted for contemporary country stations where the river water can
cleanse the mind when your lover isn’t really there. Finally, “Easy
Call” is Hurd’s last bit of wordplay. Others can call her baby or
doll, but only you can call her “crazy,” and that’s an easy
It’s also an easy call to say lovers of old-fashioned Greenwich Village folk as well as fans of the sort of country music that doesn’t fit into modern boxes should easily enjoy Long Lost Ghosts. The performances are intimate and engaging, the melodies are fresh and upbeat, and the lyrics are a cut above the average with unexpected imagery and new twists of old clichés. You need more than that? Me, I need more of Emily Hurd and am glad there’s a back catalogue to explore.