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In Focus: Michael Hurley

Portland, 26.01.24

Focus on Michael Hurley

Self-taught folk singer and guitarist, Michael Hurley plays music reminiscent of his upbringing in the rural backcountry of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

His journey from making fanzines to playing music reflects in his raggedy, joyful freak-folk. His debut album, “First Songs,” released in 1965 on Folkways, marked the onset of a unique career amid the Greenwich Village folk scene. His large body of work sits somewhere between bluegrass, folk, country, and blues jazz. His songs have been described as similarly haunting, warm, sparse, tender, and spikily surreal.

Describing the essence of his music, Hurley says, “The way music comes to you … it’s like dreaming. Melodies just drop into my thinking.” Selected by NTS.