You could call graying folkster Michael Hurley one of the most respected singer-songwriters to ever be underappreciated in this great country of ours. But it might be more precise to cast him as contemporary acoustica's most poignant absurdist. Casting his subjects in both droll and sorrowful settings, he regularly makes the improbable seem like a sure bet. He's a naturalist, too. Smitten with hollow logs, snoozy dogs, and the mists rising from a pond as evening drifts down, Hurley's able to find some kind of profundity in every corner the great outdoors. Long Journey, originally released in 1976, is one of his best records, and a great place to enter the singer's ever-quixotic world. --Jim Macnie
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Singer/songwriter Michael Hurley walks a thin line between camp and absurdity. On this 1976 Rounder album, he aims his satirical sights on the weird collisions of nature and popular culture ("Monkey on the Interstate") and on more-timeless themes of memory, nostalgia, and the blues. As a singer, Hurley will make no one forget Bill Monroe, but he's affecting, in his own John Prine-esque manner. The musicians who gather round his surreal narratives, including Holy Modal Rounders Peter Stampfel, Dave Reisch, and Robert Nickson, are as witty and colorful in their electro-bluegrass playing as Hurley is in his lyrics. --Roy Kasten