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Ancestral Swamp

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iTunes Review

Michael Hurley possesses one of the most remarkable voices in contemporary music. Though his tone is cracked and ragged, Hurley, who has been recording his unique brand of beautifully distressed country-blues for more than four decades, can holler, yodel and croon with the trouble worn authority of Jimmie Rodgers. In an era where scores of young performers attempt to emulate the dust-ravaged musings of America’s greatest roots artists, Michael Hurley is able to recapture the haunting singularity of performers like Doc Watson, Charlie Poole, and Furry Lewis simply because he never treats these artists as influences, but rather as peers. The century old musical and lyrical forms that Hurley invokes throughout the aptly titled Ancestral Swamp, seem to come naturally to him. When he inhabits the character of a unrepentant gambler on the spectral “Dying Crapshooter’s Blues” Hurley sings like a man who has instinctively understood and assimilated tracks like Blind Willie Mctell’s classic “Dying Gambler’s Blues”, yet instead of simply covering them he injects their spirit into an entirely original composition. Ancestral Swamp is nothing less than a masterpiece. It stands as an authentic piece of roots music in an era plagued with overwrought imitators.

Customer Reviews

Ancestral Swamp=Ancient Roots!

Michael Hurley is a genius, pure and simple! There is no one quite like Doc Snock! Enjoy!


Born: December 20, 1941 in Buck's County, PA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A singer/songwriter in the subversive Greenwich Village folk scene of the late '60s and '70s, with several songs lent to the Holy Modal Rounders, Michael Hurley maintained an infrequent solo career into the '90s but was more famed for his writing credits. Born on December 20, 1941 in Pennsylvania, he migrated to Greenwich Village by the early '60s and was ready to sign a major record deal when he contracted mononucleosis; after spending several years in the hospital, Hurley returned to music and...
Full Bio