If there’s one thing that makes me weak in the knees it’s a voice filled with soul. Yes, I love my little pop punk bands like New Found Glory and my pop tarts like Bieber (can’t resist it…I tried), but at the end of the day nothing gets me like a smooth voice. So that’s why I was drawn to Casey Hurt when his name landed in my inbox. Casey has garnered himself as a “pawn shop gospel” artist and if you don’t know what that means, you’ll have to keep on reading for the explanation. You’ll learn that lesson and more like his religious upbringing , what it was like to be featured on One Tree Hill and if he’d rather be Dexter’s friend or foe.
Kendra: Was faith something that was instilled into you at an early age?
Casey Hurt: Yeah, it came on all of the sudden actually. I remember one day my father packing us all up and taking us to a crazy Pentecostal church. Up until that point I don’t ever remember going. I guess I must have been about 7. My family definitely had its own magic or spirituality to it though. We were always taught to believe in hope, that things could always get better.
Casey: Both, I definitely learned it from him though.
Kendra: Where did that soul come from in your voice?
Casey: My family listened to a lot of Soul and R&B growing up. I guess I just always thought that’s what a singer was supposed to sound like. I remember going through old records and pulling out Sly & The Family Stone or Van Morrison. Those were the type of artists that always fueled my soul. I still just can’t get enough of it.
Kendra: Do you still have that pawn shop guitar?
Casey: Unfortunately I don’t. I think I tried to trade it in for something a little nicer once I started really getting serious about singing. Honestly, that guitar was barely playable; gave me strong fingers though.
Kendra: It’s obvious where the term “pawn shop gospel” comes from once a person comes to know you and your sound, but how would you describe that terminology to some random person on the street?
Casey: It’s kinda like those Gideon bibles you find at old busted hotels. It’s honest, familiar, true and sometimes it finds you when you need it most.
Kendra: How did having your song featured in an episode of One Tree Hill help your career? I mean I’ll forever call Gavin Degraw the “One Tree Hill” guy…
Casey: It was amazing. The One Tree Hill community is so loyal and really started to support me once they heard my music. I actually had another song called “Sunday Mornings” featured on the opening episode of the last season. It was a real honor.
Kendra; Noticed you’re a fan of Dexter…If you got to be a guest star, would you want to be a friend or foe of Dexter?
Casey: I love Dexter, I think I’d like to be foe. He’s got such an interesting relationship with his victims. I’ve always kinda wanted to play a bad guy anyway.
Kendra: It takes some major balls to cover Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” but you execute it with ease. How do you choose the songs you’re going to cover since it ranges from the classics to today’s current Top 40 with Lady Gaga and Drake?
Casey: Thank you. Whitney is one of the greatest artists to grace this earth. I’m just thankful that I could pay tribute. I’m really just a huge fan of all music. I try and listen to everything. Usually the first thing I look for in a song when I’m thinking about covering it is the honest emotion behind it. That’s the thing that I feel I do best and I’m not much good faking it if I don’t feel the heart in a song. I’ve got some close friends/super fans around me that usually put in a request now and then. I try and make sure they get what they want.
Kendra: Since you’re comfortable with covering songs and making them your own, have you considered auditioning for one of those reality shows?
Casey: Yeah, I think I’d like to audition for The Voice. That’s the only one I really love though.
Kendra: What do you have in store as far as touring’s concerned?
Casey: I actually just got back from a month long tour in Europe. Gonna play a few more dates in the northwest this winter. Then after that I’m gonna be putting up my new musical that I wrote with the amazing Hip-Hop trio 3Blind Mice. It’s gonna have its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on March 31st 2013.
Kendra: I want you to pick your top 5 songs that you think are prime examples of “pawn shop gospel,” go!
Casey Hurt calls his music “pawnshop gospel,” and that’s as good a term as any to describe his latest LP, Half As Much As Love. The album, which Hurt says is about the “idea that love can be beautiful and terrifying at the exact same time,” features musicians who have worked with the likes of Sheryl Crow, Cracker and Elvis Costello. Download Half As Much As Love track “Mary Mary” below.