Matt JR Hurley
Matt JR Hurley is a singer/songwriter with a maturity beyond his years and when you listen to his music it’s hard to believe that he only seriously started songwriting in 2015. The son of a church pastor, Matt had a very nomadic upbringing and for the last few years he’s been working as a youth worker in Swanage on the south cost of England. Summer 2016 sees this work coming to an end and Matt concentrating on making music. He writes honest, vunerable and enguaging music about life and about God’s love with soulful, poetic lyrics. It’s a combination of storytelling, earthy real personal reflections and experience. His intention is to help see the Kingdom of God come to earth through his music by writing and singing about all areas of our lives – both the good times and the bad because regardless of our beliefs, life is not always easy.
Spring 2016 saw Matt releasing his debut single PEBBLES (a Worldwide digital only release through Plankton Records), a beautiful song about loss and addressing and dealing with hurt and enduring the pain. He wrote the song following a sudden and unexpected bereavement he himself suffered and experienced. All through this time Matt was trying to figure out how he could process the situation or communicate with God through it all. He came to realise that he was doing this through his own songwriting and his hope is his songs will speak to people in the same way and help them to connect with God and His love when perhaps God seems a long way away.
“We need more laments”, shared Matt at the time of the single’s release “I look at some of the psalms and the dark times and struggles the writer experienced and through these times they cry for guidence and hope from and through God. I hope my music will communicate to people in all of the areas of life that we all encounter and that my songs will address these situations and circumstances and our doubts and faith with honesty and integrity. I believe God is the Lord of all circumstances and through Him we have hope and security, but I also know there are times in our lives when this is hard for people to grasp and hold on to. I want my music to be one of the things that help people find their way through such times”
June 2016 sees the release of his first EP “Raising Questions”. No glib triumphalistic songs here, these songs are both modern type laments as previously mentioned as well as songs of hope and light. His passion for facing some of the tough questions of life’s situations and circumstances are poetically embedded in the songs and their themes too, featuring thoughtful melodies and powerful choruses all performed by a group of his musician friends – all framed around Matt’s acoustic guitar playing.
Matt’s songs are grounded in a folk/roots feel with a flavouring of pop sensibilities. The final track on the release, which is built on a gentle pulsing march, “The Promise of Redemption and Hope” makes the very important point of no matter what we may encounter in our lives, there is actually something more for us all. It’s powerful storytelling and real earthy testimony and experience.
Following his engaging and intimate opening set at the Plankton Records 40th Anniversary Celebration Gig in November 2018 Matt announced that he was teaming up with fellow singer songwriter April Shipton under the duo name of ‘Beyond The Mountain’. Matt and April met at on a Christian songwriting retreat, where a common passion to share hope to those struggling soon emerged. With inspirational music and powerful testimonies, the pair of friends want to be a poignant reminder that whatever mountain we face; we are never alone, and there is always hope. Their debut single ‘Beyond The Mountain’ was released in May 2019
Watch out for Matt playing live across the country, either solo with his trusty acoustic guitar or with a band – or with April as Beyond The Mountain. In the meantime, click on the link to enjoy the video to Matt’s single PEBBLES
“Raising Questions” EP
Released 2016 Cat No: PCDN 171. CD available from on-line shop
Released 2016 Cat No: PLANCD 017.
Other Plankton releases that feature Matt JR Hurley:
“Plankton. Forty Years 1978 – 2018” 2CD Slipcase set
Released 2018 Cat No: PCDN175. 2CD set available in the on-line shop 2 CD set available in our on-line shop