Music for Hurley from the Mountain

by Gail Whistance

 On Saturday, September 23, at 7 PM, Hurley Heritage Society is proud to be hosting Professor Louie and The Crowmatix, an internationally known band, for their first concert in Hurley, to be held at the Hurley Reformed Church.

 Unbeknownst to most Hurley residents, Louie Hurwitz, the bandleader, has been recording and producing music albums in a studio in Hurley for more than 30 years.  World famous recording musicians have come and gone from the modest building tucked under the shoulder of Hurley Mountain Road, largely unnoticed by the locals.  These visitors included members of The Band, the legendary Woodstock group with whom Louie worked for many years and who anointed him with the nickname Professor Louie.  Inside, the walls of the studio are papered with colorful posters and photos from the many projects and people that have made the place come alive.  It is now the home base for Louie's group which includes Marie Spinosa, Gary Burke, Frank Campbell, and John Platania.

Situated on the farm of John and Anna Kaufman, the studio looks out over the fields that inspired the band's 2016 album, Music from Hurley Mountain.  John himself played a part on one track, John's Tractor, that was laid down while his John Deere rumbled past the open window.  Many of the visiting musicians were from rural areas and would go outside and engage John in conversations about farming while taking a break from recording.  John had no idea he was talking to famous musicians.  Be it Buckwheat Zydeco or Levon Helm, he could talk to anyone.  Later, John would come into the studio and tell Louie and Marie, “Now, he was some character!”

The Hurley Mountain album is dedicated to the memory of John and Anna.   The concert will feature songs from this album as well as others from the band's repertoire which draws from rhythm and blues, American roots, and rock traditions.  One of the songs written by Louie and Marie titled Four Farmers is named for the Hurley farming families they have come to know over the years:  Kaufman, Paul, Gill, and Davenport.   The song Ulster Outcry recalls the history of the Burning of Kingston and how that event caused people to flee to Hurley.   Ashton honors the hamlet that was lost during the construction of the Ashokan Reservoir but not relocated as were others.  Angel Band, a traditional song from the late 1800s, was a favorite of John's.  After he passed away, his typewriter was found with a piece of paper still in it.  Typed there were the lyrics to Angel Band.

We are looking forward to this special concert featuring music inspired by our own Hurley landscape and history.  It promises to be an exciting evening for our small town.  Tickets are now available here on our website or at the museum on weekends from 1 to 4 PM.   Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 on the day of the show.  If ordering via the website, the price is $21.   All proceeds go towards supporting the mission of the Hurley Heritage Society.