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Sunday February 19, 2017

Tim Hurley brings beach country to Ripon Almond Blossom Festival

By Kyla Cathey/Lodi Living Editor

At the Ripon Almond Blossom Festival, visitors will be treated to the fresh “beach country” sound created by Tim Hurley and his band.

What makes beach country?

“Well, it’s just more of a vibe and an energy within each song,” Hurley said. The singer/songwriter grew up on the East Coast and now lives in Playa del Rey, so he’s spent a lot of time by the ocean.

He and his band — with Steve Neino on guitar, Riley Flanagan on drums, Sonny Kennelly on bass, and Paul Oyen on the electric guitar — wanted to capture that nice, easy vibe in their music.

Their goal was to create a sound that makes audience members want to grab a margarita and dance, but with a smoother, more chill vibe than a traditional country song, Hurley said.

“We’re sort of a fusion of Kenny Chesney, the Zac Brown Band, and even a little Johnny Cash,” he said.

Hurley wasn’t always all about country music. He grew up listening to all kinds of genres.

“I actually had a roommate in college who was from Denver, and he was an avid country music fan,” he said. “I got completely hooked.”

Now, he gives just about anything a listen, from reggae to rock.

“As a musician you kind of have an appreciation for everything,” he said.

But his favorite music, the kind he listens to when he’s just listening for fun, is still country.

He and his band take their influences from a lot of classic country, but they like to add other elements sometimes, too. They have a new song, “Mexico,” that gets some of its sound from mariachi, Hurley said.

They’re planning to release an album in the next few weeks, he said.

This spring and summer, they’ll be playing all up and down the West Coast. After Ripon, they’re headed straight for Scottsdale, Ariz.

Touring like that isn’t work for Tim Hurley and his band, though.

“It’s like a vacation,” he said. “You’re exhausted, but it’s great. You can always look forward to a new spot, a new city.”

Everywhere they go, they try to get a feel for the community. They talk to organizers to find out the best local restaurants and hang-out spots, Hurley said.

And it’s easy to tour when you get along with your bandmates, he added.

“We have it really easy because the band is really tight. We’re like brothers,” he said.

They’re looking forward to exploring Ripon and entertaining the crowds at the town’s yearly Almond Blossom Festival. They have one request, though.

“Just make sure we know you’re there. If the fans are having a good time, we’re having a good time,” Hurley said.

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