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Trevor Hurst has gone organic.

If you were familiar with industrial rock pop of Econoline Crush and its highly acclaimed albums Affliction, The Devil You Know or Brand New History, you would have been bombarded with technical gadgetry up the yin-yang before your ears even had the chance to register what they were hearing.

That's why Wanderlust, Hurst's first post-Econoline seven-song EP, carries a disclaimer: No sequencers or samplers were injured during the making of this record.


"I really wanted to get away from the sequencers," declares Hurst, the Winnipeg-based brains behind this four-man operation. "I really wanted it to be right back to basics. I wanted it to be fluid, to get back to my rock roots and a classic, yet fresh sound.

"I wanted to go natural."

The blasting guitars of the first single "Not Broken" and its catchy contrapuntal harmonies; the punchy aggression of "Tin Cup Drunk;" the assertive groove riff-rock of "Just No Good;" the heartfelt balladry of "Surrender" - Trevor Hurst has shaken the chains of artifice, replacing them instead with a scintillating sound chock full of promise that's grounded in reality.

Wanderlust is the mindset of re-assessment from which the EP hails. Trevor admits that the initial catalyst that sent him down this path was the uncertainty of our times. An increase of senselessly violent acts and the realization that life is fragile prompted him to give up a comfortable Los Angeles lifestyle for his teenage home of Winnipeg and reconnect with his family and friends.

"After traveling the planet, oddly this is where I feel most comfortable - even with the God forsaken winters and bug-ridden summers," he laughs.

"I was at the point where I wondered if being a rock musician seemed trivial. That started me on this analytical spin, this path of discovery and exploration. It was a personality I wanted to explore that didn't involve hooking up to a machine."

So it was goodbye industrial rock and darker themes, hello warmer sounds and a sense of optimism.

Co-produced by Hurst and former Collective Soul guitarist Ross Childress, Wanderlust is the first step of that reassessment, seven sparkling songs designed to introduce Econo fans and any other admirers of Hurst's potent melodies to the next chapter in his life.

The duo had initially met during a one-off Cleveland gig a number of years ago when Econoline Crush opened for Collective Soul.

"Collective Soul had just finished their sound check and I was watching them with Fabrizio Del Monte, my road manager at the time, " recalls Hurst.

"Ross was still on stage trying to figure out his pedals and just ripping out these awesome guitar licks. I turned to Fab and said, as a joke, 'If that boy ever needs a job, tell him to give me a call.'"

A few years later, Hurst was shocked to hear from Del Monte, who called him to inform him through the "underground roadie railway" to tell him Childress and Collective Soul had parted ways.

In Nashville for a songwriting session, Hurst decided to call Childress up at his home in Atlanta, and the guitarist made the three-hour trip down the I-65 to join his new friend.

Their chemistry was immediate.

"We wrote about five songs in one day, and I thought, 'Wow! This is going to work!'" Hurst exclaims. "We really gel both as songwriters and in the studio. Our ideas are very similar."

The approach Hurst took with his new project was also night-and-day different than his tenure with Econoline Crush.

"With Econoline, it was very experimental," he notes. "Sometimes we'd find a cool sample and build songs around that, or a loop. Lots of times it was driven by stuff that was not musical.

"Whereas with Hurst, the songs are written on piano and acoustic guitar. If the song didn't happen with an instrument and a voice, I didn't want to proceed with it."

A touch of gypsy spirit was also injected, as Wanderlust progressed at a piecemeal pace. Using a myriad of locations that included hotel rooms, basements, cabins and Mushroom Studios in Vancouver -- where Marcy Playground's John Wozniak also lent a helping hand in the engineering department -- Childress contributed guitar, bass and some keyboard work.

"Ross and I spent a lot of time writing this thing in a multitude of locations: Toronto, Vancouver, Atlanta, Stockbridge, Nashville, Georgia and Winnipeg - just all over the map and all over North America," says Hurst. "Which is what the title Wanderlust refers to - this restless drive to explore new areas, discover new sounds and forge our own path."

When it came time to hit the road, Childress decided to stay in the background, so Trevor Hurst will be fronting a lineup that includes guitarist Derrick Gottfried, bass player Paulo Neta and drummer Nik Pesut - with Canada set as the first of the dominos earmarked to fall in his quest for world domination.

The EP puts Mr. Hurst square in the driver's seat: away from the safety net of the major label with an opportunity to call his own shots.

"I love the fact that we have control. I also love the role of the underdog: going out there, putting on a great show and surprising some people."

Most importantly, Hurst is looking to make a connection concerning the basics.

"'Not Broken' is a song plain and simple about friendship, straight up and what it means to get through things with your friends," he notes. "You really find after awhile that a good friend is hard to find, so when you have one you really are blessed to find one.

"And 'Stumble' is one my favourites - a song about my time in the little town of Virden, MB where you're in your awkward teens, but there's a glimmer of hope concerning your future and infinite possibilities.

"The themes that I touch on lyrically are more in tune with where I am at in my life. I just wanted to align everything and feel that my life made sense, and with this band and with this style of music and even going about it in an independent fashion, is more in line with who I am as a person and as an artist."

Trevor Hurst has sold numerous gold and platinum albums with Econoline Crush. He's done the Juno dance. He's shared the stage with KISS, 3 Doors Down, Finger Eleven and numerous other Canadian and International acts. He's played the role of rock star with the aplomb with which it was intended.

Now it's time for an earthier, soulful era.

"There's a lot of contemplation in this music, but I think that it's the job of an artist to hold a mirror up to society, it's all seen through my own distorted perception of what I see around me, whether it's myself or my friends or the planet, and it's my job to express those observations and emotions."

"It's a whole lot less smoke-and-mirrors and a whole lot closer to who I am. It's real."