I think I only knew four chords at the time, but I was with this girl for five years and she ripped me up and down, Hursh said.
Hursh, 28, met his former sweetheart at 16. When they separated, he borrowed his uncles vintage Gibson and began teaching himself to play, sing, and write music.
We were the perfect couple; we were even talking about marriage. Then she started her first semester at Western Michigan University and decided she wanted to study abroad.
Thats when they went their separate ways and he needed a way to get his problems out. Instead of just sitting around thinking about how much it sucked, I decided to play the guitar. I just didnt have anything better to do except drink and play guitar.
By keeping busy with his uncles guitar, he started writing songs that others could relate to. It was an easy way for him to express himself and talk about things that were bothering him, Hursh said.
Guys dont talk about their problems or moods; this was an acceptable way for me to get things out, and people were looking up to me because I was writing things they liked. The best way to get over a girl is singing to another girl.
With the help of his mom and dad, Rebecca and Guy Hursh, Ben formed the band, Hursh, in 2005. Rebecca sings back-up and Guy is the lead guitarist. They added bass player Rob Ackley, traditional drummer Devon Neibert, and conga player Keith Ballmer, completing the six-member gang. Last spring they released their first album.
Ben Hursh had some exposure to music prior to his break-up. Guy Hursh had been playing the guitar since he was 16, and Rebecca could commonly be heard singing as she took care of her three sons and two daughters.
When Ben was a kid, his brothers and sisters would beg me to play Rocky Raccoon by The Beatles and Four Wet Pigs by Greg Brown, Guy Hursh said.
Music was always in the Hursh house.
Some of my youngest memories were at home with my mom playing John Mellencamp, while we danced around just being little kids, Ben Hursh said.
Hursh is a blue-collar band drawing influences from Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones. They play mostly original songs written by Ben and Guy.
Sometimes you see these bands, and they just become bar bands. We dont want to be that, we just want to stay true to our music. Ben Hursh said.
They do play some covers by Ryan Adams and The Rolling Stones, but they put their own twist on them, Guy Hursh said.
This band is all about that guy [Adams], he writes the kind of music that inspires people, Ben Hursh said.
This is a hard-working band that plays until 2 p.m. and wakes up early for work the next day, Ben Hursh said. Guy Hursh is a construction worker for the Leelanau County Road Commission while Ackley is a commercial painter who works primarily in Leelanau County and the Grand Traverse Area. Ben works for the Sutons Bay Department of Public Works. We arent full-time musicians, we all get up at the
butt-crack of dawn and go to work, which
is what this band is kind of about, Ben
This band is an outlet for people who bust their ass for eight-plus hours every day.
Hursh is already working on another album. This CD is going to be more upbeat. They havent recorded anything yet, but Ben and Guy have been working on some new stuff with the help of Ackley.
This first batch of songs Ben wrote, he was in Kalamazoo and was still drawing on those experiences, Guy Hursh said. The stuff that we are working on is more of a collaboration between Ben, Rob and myself.
Ben Hursh now also has a lot more positive things to write about because of his new baby girl and his fiancé. He met Tricia Ponder outside of Jacobs Well.
Well, with a mouthful of Skittles.
I tried to meet her outside when she was leaving and had bought a some Skittles at a candy machine while I waited for her, he said. It was just one of those things when she came out right when I had popped them in my mouth.
Because of the Skittles, Ben Hursh had a difficult time talking to her. Yet somehow, things worked out romantically.
Hursh plays on Friday nights at 10:30 p.m. at Le Naro Pub in Lake Leelanau. They will also be at Petes Pub in Traverse City July 29 and August 23 at Music in the Park in Elberta. Hurshs self-titled album is on sale at cdbaby.com and at Horizon Books.