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An Evening with Michael Hurley at The United, co-presented by Westerly Sound
- with Darren Hanlon (from Australia)
"Whether weaving a yarn about a mysterious hog or comparing the human heart to a mechanic's toolbox, Mr. Hurley create(s) elaborate vistas in a musical version of outsider art" - Ann Powers / New York Times
"There aren't very many American originals left. Michael Hurley is one of them. You probably haven't heard of Hurley, but it's not like he hasn't been out there for more than 50 years, playing his odd, eternal strain of folk music and recording when he gets a mind to. Hurley's one of the last survivors of the Greenwich Village folk boom of the early 1960s. He's more than that, though - more deeply rooted. With his cracked voice, skewed comic vision, and a ragtag musical sensibility that seems to span centuries, Hurley's a vestige of the "old, weird America." - Ty Burr / The Boston Globe
Michael Hurley grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. As a teenager in the 1950s he fell in love hearing the music of Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers and Bo Diddley blast from the radio, and was enthralled by the records of Blind Willie McTell, Hank Williams and Uncle Dave Macon that he sought for his own. This love for music, true and unvarnished, supplied him with a finely tuned musical compass he has not wavered from for 50 years and counting. Hurley's music sounds old, like it has always existed, and simultaneously singular, like something you've never heard anyone else play quite like that before. This timeless quality ensures that Hurley's audience constantly renews itself. From the the beatniks in the NYC Village where he started in the early 60s, to the hippies in Vermont, to the Americana fans, indie rockers and freak folkers from the last two decades, Michael's music never fails to find fresh new ears. Pressed for a description, Hurley has called it "jazz-hyped blues and country and western music".
Hurley's early records were released on Folkways, Warner Brothers/Raccoon, and Rounder, while in recent years stalwart independent labels like Gnomonsong and Mississippi have been carrying the torch. The great news is that there is no stopping Michael Hurley. An album with brand new recordings, Bad Mr. Mike, was released on the Mississippi label last year and another new one with archival 1990s live material recorded in Lublijana is due on Feeding Tube Records this summer. Besides being a truly unique musician, Hurley is also a cartoonist and watercolor artist of note — the instantly recognizable results of which grace his album covers.
Hurley now resides on the west coast, so east coast appearances have been scarce the last decade. Old and new fans should not pass up the rare opportunity to catch Michael in action on various New England and New York state stages.