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***Ancestral Swamp is the 20th full-length album by legendary rambler, cartoonist, “outsider” folk singer, and guitarist Michael Hurley. It arrives just in the nick of time for the rabid Snockophile. A batch of new vittles and encores of some of his classic tunes, Ancestral Swamp bubbles with laid-back ease and tremolodic goodness.
Most songs have the simplest of arrangements: Hurley singing solo, accompanied by his guitar, Wurlizter organ, or fiddle. Tara Jane O’Neil helps lend a nice touch to “El Dorado,” and Snock calls upon frequent past accomplices Dave Reisch and Louie Longmeyer for their graceful touch on sleepy winners like “New River Blues” and “Gamblin’ Charlie.” As with all Hurley’s albums, once one sets the needle down, one is put in a certain peace and place. His voice and songs are unique, shuffling with characters and visions clear and wild. With Ancestral Swamp, it seems Snock has left his front door open a bit wider than usual. If you lean in close, you can inhale a little of the vapor rising off the water, and enjoy a tale or two.
Snock has personally test marketed The Ancestral Swamp” and the results are in: “The Ancestral Swamp is actually a good party record, even though fraught with dirges of dying and death.”