So…Michael Hurley is one of my favorite singers, and has been since I heard “Mr. Whiskerwits” on the radio while I was driving a fork-lift on loading dock a long, long time ago. The epitome of a hippie-era also-ran, Hurley has made a mess of records. Some have been better than others, and all are quite wonderful. He works in a manner that allows loosey-goosey to always feel like the correct approach, plunking at the guitar, scratching at the fiddle, and singing in a gritty warble. He knows a bunch of depression-era songs that sadly have just as much resonance now as they did back then, and he writes a bunch of hoe-down fantasias that often have to do with the natural world and its endless wonders (he once asked his Facebook friends if they wanted to start a “dream interpretation club”).
Hurley’s part of the Brooklyn Folk Festival, a fun and formidable gathering that takes over St. Ann’s Church in BK Heights through Sunday night. Highlights include Blind Boy Paxton, the Ozark Highballers, the Cactus Blossoms, and the wondrous duo of Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel (Sunday night at 8:15 pm)
From jug to Hawaiian to delta to gospel to string band to mazurkas to balafon to bluegrass, they’ll be covering several “bases.”
Gonna be a blast.