Michael Hurley + Ida: Ida Con Snock (2009)


Call me a mindreader, because i know what you're thinking: "Based on this weak drawing of birds singing on telephone poles, this cd is gonna suck." I would tend to agree with you, if the words "Ida" and "Snock" didn't also appear in the title.

Snock, aka Michael Hurley, has been making weird folk records since the mid 1960s. His first record came out on Folkways, and his last came out on Devandra Barnhart's label, Gnomonsong. Tell me that's not street cred.

But mostly, this cd is my favorite Hurley record since the amazing "Have Moicy!" collaboration extraordinaire of 1974. I have at least 6 cds by Hurley, and i'll be honest-- they're pretty interchangeable. Each cd basically sounds like a continuation of the one before it. Or more bluntly, they all sound the same. Which isn't necessarily bad...

But, from the first bar in Ida Con Snock, you can hear the difference. Ida brings an incredible warmth and focus to Hurley's songs, grounding them and supporting them with an incredible musicianship that his other cds don't have. You've never heard drone, sweet harmonies, and thoughtful arrangements on a Hurley cd before. 

If you haven't heard Michael Hurley before, you might not be startled in the same way that I was. It might just sound like a nice, understated folk record. And that's okay, too. But keep in mind that this dude is around 68. At this point, Ida Con Snock sounds better than anything that Neil Young or Bob Dylan puts out (contemporaries of Hurley who proudly live up to the title "Washed Up").

For fans of early Low, Emmylou Harris, Crazy Horse, etc

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