WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 03, 2016 by BILL WILCOX
Professor Louie & The Crowmatix – Music From Hurley Mountain
Americana music encompasses many different strains of homegrown sounds. Professor Louie and The Crowmatix have tapped into a number of those sounds on their compelling new album, Music From Hurley Mountain.
Denizens of Woodstock, NY, The Crowmatix, featuring Aaron Hurwitz – “Professor Louie” – and his songwriting partner “Miss Marie” Spinosa, grew together in the 1990s because of their association with members of The Band, particularly Rick Danko. Originally known for roots blues oriented music, the outfit has released a dozen albums over the past couple of decades, with music ranging from folk to gospel to blues. Of their earlier albums, check out Over the Edge, released in 2000, and Century of the Blues from in 2004.
Hurley Mountain is an homage to the farmlands of upstate New York around the town of Hurley, near Woodstock, where the album was recorded. The album’s title is an obvious shout-out to The Band’s classic album, Music From Big Pink, which was conceived in the 1960s when members of the band shared a house in nearby Saugerties, New York. The album is a collection of enjoyable songs, mainly written by Hurwitz and Spinosa. And it is excellent. The vocals from Hurwitz are comfortable and solid, and when Spinosa’s soulful vocals take the lead, she soars. The album meanders deftly through many traditional styles. It sparkles from the surprising accordion opening through the traditional-sounding blues of “Hurley Mountain Road” and the more contemporary blues of “Ulster Outcry,” the old timey country cover of “Family Reunion” by Aubrey Holt and Harley Gabbard, through the excellent blues-rock “Crop Dustin’ Blues,” Jimmy Reed’s “You Got Me Dizzy,” the traditional instrumental “Four Farmers” with its whistling accompaniment by Spinosa, the beautiful gospel-tinged “Light in Your Eyes,” until it finally wraps up with the somber instrumental “Goodnight Hurley Moon.”
Multi-instrumentalist Hurwitz plays according, piano and keyboards; Spinosa plays piano, percussion and sings soulfully on several numbers; Frank Campbell plays bass, Gary Burke plays drums; John Platania and Josh Colow are on guitars; and Larry Packer plays violin.
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