Pin It

CD Review: Michael Hurley 

Michael Hurley
Ida Con Snock
(Gnomonsong Records, 2009)

Michael Hurley might be our least-known American treasure. But you sure can’t fault the veteran folk singer-songwriter for that: Ida Con Snock, recorded partly at Levon Helm’s Woodstock digs and featuring the younger but like-minded local outfit Ida, is at least his 20th album (tracking musicians like Hurley can be an inexact science) since he emerged in the mid ’60s. Since then, the creative outlaw nicknamed Snock has blazed a trail of remarkable consistency and unpolished quality through American culture, not just musically but as a bona fide roots character as well (drawing comics, riding the rails, collaborating with underground icons such as Greenwich Village freak Peter Stampfel).

There’s nothing about Ida Con Snock to recommend it to fans that already have a pile of Hurley records, save for its low-light glow, its irrepressibly human feeling, and its outright Snockness. Ida backs him hand in glove, with spare, intuitive arrangements and Elizabeth Mitchell’s achingly pretty backing vocals—when she enters on “Wildegeeses,” one of the album’s highlights, it’ll give you warm chills. Hurley shows signs of graceful aging in his voice, which has always been softly graveled (except when he yodels), but he’s hardly been better; childlike whimsy (the call and response on “Hoot Owls”) and deep, knowing poignancy (“I Stole the Right to Live” and the sweet come-on “The Time Is Right”) are often separated by just the creak in his voice. Yeah, old fans need this, and those yet to be acquainted can easily start their affair with Hurley here.

click to enlarge cd-michael-hurley.jpg

Tags: , , ,

Speaking of...

  • Mike Wolf reviews Michael Hurley's new CD "Ida Con Shock."


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • The Way Home: Yungchen Lhamo

    Peter Aaron writes about the Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo.
    • Feb 1, 2016
  • CD Review: "The Poughkeepsie Jazz Project"

    If you want to catch some of the best jazz in the Hudson Valley, head over to the Derby bar and restaurant on Main Street in Poughkeepsie. Since 2013, the duo of pianist John Scanlon and bassist Ben Basile has held court there every Tuesday, jamming with an array of local talent each week and establishing Po-Town as a rising force in local bop.
    • Aug 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Latest in Music

Related to Music

  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Mike Wolf

Hudson Valley Tweets