Michael Hurley: Ancestral Swamp

Music Reviews Michael Hurley
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Michael Hurley: Ancestral Swamp

Eccentric songwriter dreams of cowboys and little green men

Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan summed up America’s kookiest living songster best:

“I’ve never encountered anybody in less of a hurry than Michael Hurley; he always seems a second or two behind, like he’s not quite seeing or hearing the same things we are.” Covered by the likes of Cat Power and the Violent Femmes, the perpetually itinerant Hurley no doubt exists on another plane. Over the course of five decades, his languorous songs have lounged just outside of blues, country and folk, and his first album for Devendra Banhart’s Gnomonsong imprint is no different. Spacey and sloooow, nudged on by guests like Tara Jane ONeil, a fiddle snores through “When I Get Back Home,” while the electric piano on “Lonesome Graveyard” is basically somnambulant. Within his rasped lyrics, cowboys, crapshooters and little green fellows abound (what, no werewolves this time?), making for some of the strangest nap dreams imaginable.

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