In the state of contemporary recording, session EPs are a pretty refreshing concept. By limiting yourself to one space and removing any access to punch-ins, session records evoke the “one-take” magic of century-old methods, back when capturing an authentic live performance was the industry standard. Phil Hurley‘s experienced the best of both, having tracked with the likes of Fountains of Wayne and Lisa Loeb in Seattle before moving down here to Austin, where he’s had no hurdles acclimating to the “Live Music Capital”, thanks to the past dozen years of gigs with South Austin Moonlighters, Stonehoney, Gigolo Aunts, and Jimmy LaFave.
But as Hurley discovered, the one flaw with live recordings is that if you lose one element, you lose everything. His latest EP was nearly unrecoverable after a hard drive crash, and only dubbed The Firebird Sessions after a couple of music miracles brought it back out of the aether. The five-track came out in the dog days of mid-July, just in time to kickstart our country spirits back into action. And if you need to get the blood flowing diving back into the workweek, check out “Failing Heart”; it recalls the arena-ready pop-rock of ’80s-era Yes or Blue Öyster Cult, albeit with the distinctive Southern flair of Hurley’s Herculean pipes.