Michael Hurley
Micheael Hurley
Preis: 15€
Wer von euch hat den Blues? Und möchte den mal so richtig ausleben? Und sich dabei so fühlen wie Gott auf einem Schaukelstuhl auf einer Veranda in Massachussetts, während ein einäugiger Hund sich daneben die Wunden leckt? Der sollte das neue Album von Michael Hurley nicht verpassen ...

61 Jahre hat der Gute mittlerweile auf dem Buckel, hat seit seiner ersten Veröffentlichung im Jahr 1965 mit einem Dutzend Alben Folkgeschichte geschrieben, und wer wissen will, wo das Herz des amerikanischen Blues schlägt, der höre sich bei Michael Hurley um.
"Sweetkorn" ist im Sommer letzten Jahres in einem Wohnzimmer entstanden, und das hört man dem Album an - was nicht negativ gemeint ist. Die Stücke atmen eine eigenartige Intimität und gelassene Zurückgelehntheit. Man fühlt sich tatsächlich wie "over yonder" im Staub des trockenen Südens, den Blick auf grasenden Rinderherden oder so.
Langsamkeit ist das Gebot, mit einer Fluppe im Mund (reine Fantasie, vielleicht ist Hurley ja militanter Nichtraucher) wird am Banjo gezupft und der Cowboyhut zurechtgerückt.

Das Album entstand in enger Zusammenarbeit mit anderen Musikern wie Jill Gross und Dana Kletter, denen Hurley selbst die Entscheidung überließ, für welche Songs sie etwas beisteuern wollten. So war gesichert, dass sich jeder der Beteiligten möglichst zuhause fühlen konnte.

Anspieltipps sind "Barbara Allen" und das schön klassische "The Question". Und wenn der Himmel im anstehenden Sommer nach Feierabend seine Schleusen öffnet und den Biergartenabend platzen lässt, dann lasst euch ruhig mit Michael Hurley nieder im heimischen Wohnzimmer - auf eine Tasse Starbucks-Coffee und einen Jackie.
(Zeichensprache.de, Juni 2002)

This guy's travelled around the block a few times, been a car repair man, painter, played Carnegie Hall and made a shedload of albums. It's the first one I've heard though and at first I wasn't sure about it. It sounded a bit too home-made and a bit shambolic with guitars, fiddle and banjo lazily accompanying his somewhat worn voice through a range of material.
An 18th century ballad 'Barbera Allen' gets the unadorned banjo treatment as the lived-in vocal unfolds a tale of cruelty while his own song 'The Question' features the vocals of Jill Gross and Dana Kletter alongside Hurley's forays into the falsetto range. It is sometimes an uncertain sound. Will the harmonies actually work ? It's touch and go but they do get there.
His guitar alternates between assurance and a slightly faltering picking on the bluesy 'Blockade Stillers' as his singing shifts from a gritty rasp to a wobbly yodel. I can't make up my mind if he's got a grip on the tune of the old standard, 'Mona Lisa' but its lazy swinging delivery works in a strangely compelling way .Some of this may not sound too promising but overall it is a warm and somehow endearing album that sneaks up on you and reels you in. The songs which finally won me over are both examples of how his melodic, laidback delivery grows on you. On 'Got Over It' a gentle violin drifts in and out behind the lyric's story of life's little problems, like having your mobile home wrecked. But in the end resilience and optimism triumph :
'I had a hard time but I got over it'
A similar effect is achieved on 'O My Stars' with the addition of those female vocal harmonies. It really is uplifting as they sing the chorus, which looks fairly ordinary on paper :
'O my stars how you undo me'
When the three voices meet and soar they just shimmer and take the breath away. There's a lovely unobtrusive clarinet in there briefly too. Such moments of pure magic tell me I'm in good company despite my initial reservations about a couple of the tracks. So as he rambles off picking and sliding on the final track 'The End Of The Road' I find I'm replaying it once more. Yes, I'm a fan.
(Paul Donnelly - www.tangents.co.uk)

Since the death of Townes Van Zandt a few years ago, one last great unsung hero of American folk music remains: Michael Hurley

Since his debut recording on Folkways in 1965 the twisted troubadour has released about a dozen albums of unwavering quality - a distinctive pastiche of blues, country and folk styles - and the next one 'Sweetkorn'is...

Making Sweetkorn Sweetkorn was recorded by the Bellemeade Phonics remote unit, beginning in May '01 and ending in August. Most of the recording was done in Brighton, MA, which is one of the burgs of Boston, reachable by that city's rapid transit train system. Snog stayed in that area for 2 months, with the album the project. He dwelled in the burgs of Arlington, Brighton, Cambridge, and Somerville respectively. Respectively. The banjo instrumental, "Edinburgh Lag" was recorded at Snog's flat in Ohio before he came east to work with Scott Shetler and Jill Gross. They are husband and wife and dwell in Brighton, which is a pretty lively place and also features some pretty nice breakfast spas. Snog tried a lot of the breakfast joints while he was in Brighton, but recurred most at The Mirror, where they had the politest people who ran it. There were also more than a couuple of Irish pubs where Irish is spoken. You can get good Chinese and Thai food there as well.

A recording studio was installed in Scott and Jill's living room and pals and associates were invited in to help. The rock group, "The Celestials" was assembled with a chorus of Jill Gross and Dana Kletter singing, the horn work of Scott, the violin work of Olga Kouznetsova, and a couple of different bass players, Mitch Nelin and One String Robbie Phillips. So Jill sometimes cooked some food for different groups who were there, or they made a run to some "to go" place, or Snog would just go out and roam the restaurants of Brighton's "strip", or he would immerse himself in a pub. Sometimes Scott and Snog and Robbie would all be together at this one pub, The Castle Bar. They would work out their differences but mostly what these guys had was an easy harmonic and they shined everywhere. Finding Olga Kouznetsova, the violinist, was a stroke of luck. Kevin Maul plays Dobro on "The End of the Road" and the Tom T. Hall song, "Negatory Romance." Kevin is also heard on Snog's album "Weatherhole" and has performed live with Snog at Tonic in New York City as well as other venues. Snog picked songs that suited the people he was recording with and sometimes had the musicians hoose the songs they liked to play on, rather than assigning them to the songs.
Michael Hurley

last updated: 13.11.2004 | top