michael hurley Ida Con Snock (CD, £12.50)label: gnomonsong
Michael Hurley is one of the last remaining ramblin' American folk troubadours. Hobo-ing around the country, making music since the days Bob Dylan first set foot in New York City's Gaslight club, Hurley recorded his first album for Moses Ash's legendary Folkways label in 1964 and continued to release albums for both Warner Brothers and Rounder. His mid-'70s Have Moicy album was among the top ten for the decade selected by Rolling Stone magazine. While many of his contemporaries are long past their prime (or deceased), Hurley's muse is still intact. Hurley's songwriting talent hasn't gone unnoticed by a new generation of musicians. In recent years, he was invited to tour with alt-country heroes Son Volt and Lucinda Williams. He's also shared bills with Smog and Palace Brothers, played with the Giant Sand rhythm section, and has of course appeared with (and been covered by) Vetiver and appeared on their records. His songs have also been covered by indie stars Cat Power and Yo La Tengo, among others. So, the matter at hand, a new album of recordings sung and played by Hurley, backed by Ida, appropriately titled Ida Con Snock: Snock himself marvels at this 21st studio album, recorded at Levon Helms' studio in Woodstock, NY. Ida's less-is-more finesse shines on these rich recordings, melding perfectly with Hurley's playing and singing. Many of these songs are already well familiar to Hurley's devotees. There are seven originals and five loving covers of '50s rock 'n' roll, C&W, and vintage folk, each tune capturing Hurley and band at peak performance levels.
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