Chris Hurn: Too Busy Dreamin' (Monkey)

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Chris Hurn: Day of My Escape
Chris Hurn: Too Busy Dreamin' (Monkey)

While owing a clear debt to Paul Simon, the young Dylan, early Donovan and others in the acoustic singer-songwriter category, this young guy from Lower Hutt just north of Wellington, New Zealand brings a pop sensibility to his writing (the openers here Watch Got and Only One I Need hook you immediately) and often a deliberately light touch (whistles, handclaps).

Maybe that is in part due to his background: He played in a pop-rock band The Lunch Box Boys which won the Play It Strange award in 2007 (which means he must have been about 17 at the time). Since then he discovered folk and that lineage of singer-songwriters and has struck out on his own.

What is attractive about Hurn is that rather than indulging in melancholy miserablism which the idiom so often invites from a young and emotionally anxious performer, he has a sharp ear for a melodic hook and that he keeps each song distinctive.

He also has an inviting, warm and believable voice which is persuasive when he get reflective (All I Really Want) or urgent (An Honest Man) as much as taking you along for a ride when the musical mood gets more breezy (Love and Silly Little Things with ukulele, whistling and la-la-la backing vocals).

Sometimes his delivery sails a little to close to Simon's (I'm Doin' Fine) but this is a debut and he's still finding his true voice, and other than when he seems to over-reach (the wordy and dramatic Mean Streets) you wouldn't question the strength of his songwriting. Or that he understands folk-pop which is his natural home. 

Hurn completes a New Zealand national tour tomorrow night (April 2) at Auckland's Wine Cellar.

The closer is an ambitious, eight minute-plus Thank You and Goodnight which might a;so be his built-in encore.

But you will be hearing more of him, that's for sure.

Interested more along these lines? Then try this.

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