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Hurwitz sings the cowboy blues

Michael Hurwitz brings his cowboy blues to Steve’s Guitars, 19 N. 4th St. in Carbondale, Saturday, April 19. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 at the door.

Hurwitz is a Wyoming-based singer and songwriter with a unique style that falls somewhere between Delta blues and Western cowboy swing.

Born in 1949 in Laramie, Wyo., he grew up surrounded by the country music of the area and the rich musical traditions of the south cherished by his Mississippi-born mother. From the 1970s on he has traveled and played his music to the delight of listeners from coast to coast in concert halls, honky tonks and folk clubs.

His performances are salted with stories and humor from a life of cowboying, logging, hoboing and singing that delight and enthrall audiences. His original songs stand with the best American folk poetry. Hurwitz’ guitar playing is skillful and inspired, full of the subtleties and nuances of the old masters.

His newest recording, “Bunkhouse Blues,” released in November 2002 on Meadowlark Records, is an eclectic mix of American music styles, from blues to country ballads, cowboy songs to Dixieland, Western swing and Southern mountain music. He offers up his own songs as well as covers of songs by Blind Willie McTell, Merle Travis, Gordon Lightfoot and Woody Guthrie.

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He will be joined Saturday night by the Aimless Drifters, a group of stellar players including John Magnie on accordion, Ben Winship on mandolin and vocals and Bonnie Hartman on cello.

“Michael Hurwitz is a treasure trove of country blues. One minute he’s singing an original about busting broncos; the next he’s pulling the best traditional (songs) you’ve ever heard from his repertoire and picking it out on guitar. Hurwitz’ dusky baritone resonates with the sounds of mountains he’s pondered, horses he’s wrangled and land he’s traveled. He’s the real deal,” said Meredith Oaks, NPR music critic.


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