American folk legend Michael Hurley will be performing at Wolvi Hall on Saturday.
American folk legend Michael Hurley will be performing at Wolvi Hall on Saturday. Contributed

US folk legend to play in Gympie

GYMPIE folk music product Darren Hanlon is returning to the town where it all started this week and he's bringing a friend; American folk legend Michael Hurley.

The well-travelled soloists will be making themselves comfortable at the Wolvi Hall this Saturday from 7pm, for a night of intimate folk songs where audiences can see the unique performances back to back.

Gympie born and raised Hanlon, met rollicking folk bard Hurley on one of his music-making tours of the States, where the friendship solidly formed on many a road trip and convinced him to revisit Australia with Gympie top of the destination list of his whirlwind tour.

"I love those drives just as much as the shows.

"(He) mostly yacks to me about his life, wild stories of the beatnik scene in NY and Vermont, old Bluesmen he knew and shooting contests with bandits in Mexico in the 60s.”

Road trips were where home-grown talent Darren Hanlon (right) got to hear all the tales gone by from American folk legend Michael Hurley.
Road trips were where home-grown talent Darren Hanlon (right) got to hear all the tales gone by from American folk legend Michael Hurley. Contributed

Hanlon, a fan whose own works share the same story-telling charm, describes the American's on-stage presence as both hypnotic and goofy.

"The lyrics aren't the usual folk ballad narrative storytelling, (they're) more impressionistic,” Hanlon said.

"He sings about food and animals and hobos.”

"I'm always transfixed by his idiosyncratic guitar playing too, a mix of picked out rhythm with occasional surprise leadbreaks and a Delta Blues kinda bass plod, all in some kind of fluid time signature.”

Described as one of America's last true outsider folk troubadours Hanlon said his work proves you can still crank out the hits when you're in your 70s.

Michael Hurley reviews:

'Undoubtedly one of American's greatest folk singers, Hurley has little in common with the majority of today's folk performers. While they seem bent on demonstrating that all people are alike, such a suffocating presumption has no place in this man's work. Michael Hurley is nothing like his potential audience. What better reason to hear what he has to say?'

- Chuck Cuminale

'...I don't know what else to say about what he writes and sings, other than that it is gosh-darned great. What kind of music is it? Hell, what kind of weeds does God grow? Let's just shut up and listen and go to where Michael Hurley is. After all, we can always turn around and come back. He can't.'

- Nick Tosches

'Michael Hurley is the last unreconstructed folkie-shaman in America. His songs are primordial tales of the hunt for good cheer and satisfying sex, etched like cave paintings on city walls and farmland silos. Like many characters in his songs, his voice seems to have been run over by the dump truck of life, but it marries human mystery to forthright music like no other.'

- Milo Miles

American folk legend Michael Hurley grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
American folk legend Michael Hurley grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Contributed

Michael Hurley tour dates:

  • GYMPIE: Saturday March 17 @ Wolvi Hall with Darren Hanlon. Tickets on sale now.
  • BRISBANE: Sunday March 18 @ Junk Bar. Tickets on sale now.
  • LENNOX HEADS: Tuesday March 20 @ Lennox Sessions with Darren Hanlon.
  • GLENREAGH: Wednesday March 21 @ Boo Radley Shed with Darren Hanlon. Tickets on sale now.
  • SYDNEY: Thursday March 22 @ Petersham Bowling Club with Leah Flanagan. Tickets on sale now.
  • STANWELL PARK: Friday March 23 @ CWA Hall with Jordan Ireland and Purple Orchestra plus special surprise guest. Tickets on sale now.
  • CANBERRA: Saturday March 24 @ Smiths Alternative. Tickets on sale now.
  • LAUNCESTON: Wednesday March 28 @ Saint John with Darren Hanlon. Tickets on sale now.
  • HOBART: Thursday March 29 @ Republic Bar with Darren Hanlon. Tickets on sale now.
  • CASTLEMAINE: Friday March 30 @ Theatre Royal with Chastity Belt (USA) + Darren Hanlon. Tickets on sale now.
  • MELBOURNE: Tuesday April 3 @ Northcote Social Club with Susie Scurry. Tickets on sale now.
  • TALLAROOK: Easter Weekend at Boogie Festival.
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