Michael Hurley has been writing and performing sweetly odd, lyrically delightful, tunefully simple songs, and quietly making a legacy of it, for about 50 years or so. Way back when with the crazy likes of the Holy Modal Rounders and the Fugs, true originals and joyful, artistic anarchists. Michael played at the Dock - the old Castaways - in Ithaca tonight.
He is originally from the east - Bucks County, Pennsylvania - and made his mark first in NYC in the fecund folk days of the 1960's. Later he became more rural - played a lot of dates in Vermont, for one. About 15 years ago he went west, to the Portland, Oregon area, and apparently is very happy there.
He sure toiled in obscurity for years, though seemed not to mind it, but lately has had a surge of fervid popularity among people half his age. I'm not sure, but I think it had to do with a tune or two of his being featured on cable TV and in the movies. Discovered, around age 70.
The crowd at the Dock tonight was a nice mix of fans old and new. The Dock was a nice environment. The place looks great, repainted and reappointed. The staff were professional and gracious.
The onliest negative was with about 10% of the crowd, primarily interested , it seemed, in drinking and loud talking, rather than the doings.
This seems to us a poor, too-common thing in Ithaca. Or is it common everywhere?
WRFI, our community radio station, was on the scene, broadcasting it live, I believe. I hope they archived it, too. I will listen and hear, I hope, some of what I missed to bibulous loquaciousness around me at the site.
Anyway, thank you to the Dock, to Angry Mom Records (a sponsor), and to Michael Hurley, a beautiful guy. And to the other 90% of a good-sized crowd!